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JUN 1963 



JUL21 1981 



ON CHRISTIANITY 

Early Theological Writings 

b 

Friedrich Hegel 



TRANSLATED BY 
T. M. KNOX 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION, AND FRAGMENTS 

TRANSLATED BY 
RICHARD KRONER 



HARPER TORCHBOOKS T THE CLOISTER LIBRARY 
HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK 



ON CHRISTIANITY: Early Theological Writings 

Copyright 1948 by The University of Chicago 

Printed in the United States of America 

This book was originally published in 1948 by the University of Chicago 
Press under the title EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS and is here 
reprinted by arrangement. With the exception of On Classical Studies, 
the Hegel texts have been translated from Hegels theologische Jugend- 
schriften, edited by Herman Nohl and published by J. C. B. Mohr (Paul 
Siebeck) of Tuebingen in 1907. 

First HARPER TORCHBOOK EDITION published 1961 



PREFATORY NOTE 

OF THE translations in this volume, Professor Kroner is re- 
sponsible for the Fragment of a System and the speech On 
Classical Studies, while I am responsible for The Positivity of the 
Christian Religion, The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate, and the 
fragment on Love. With the exception of the speech On Classical 
Studies, the translations have been made from Herman NohFs 
Hegels theologische Jugendschriften (Tubingen, 1907) ; the page num- 
bers of that edition have been inserted in parentheses for the con- 
venience of readers who wish to refer to the original German. 
Nohl printed in footnotes a number of passages which Hegel had 
written and then deleted; these, along with most of the drafts and 
fragments printed in Nohl's appendixes, have been omitted from 
the translation, although a few of them have been used in the ex- 
planatory notes. The use of square brackets indicates that what 
they inclose was not in Hegel's manuscript; this bracketed material 
is the translator's except where otherwise stated. All footnotes orig- 
inating with the translator are numbered; Hegel's own footnotes 
are marked with asterisks. 

Although this volume does not comprise all the material col- 
lected and published by Nohl, it includes all Hegel's most impor- 
tant early theological writings. In addition to the omissions men- 
tioned above, I have omitted a series of fragments to which 
Nohl gave the general title "National Religion and Christianity" 
and an essay on the "Life of Jesus." These have not seemed worth 
translation the fragments because they are too fragmentary and 
are concerned in the main with questions treated more systemati- 
cally and maturely in the essays which I have translated, the "Life 
of Jesus" because it is little more than a forced attempt to depict 
Jesus as a teacher of what is in substance Kant's ethics. 

Throughout his life, and not least in his early period when he was 



PREFATORY NOTE 

mainly preoccupied with theological problems, Hegel was strongly 
influenced by the civilization of Greece and Rome. It is for this 
reason that his speech On Classical Studies, delivered in 1809, has 
been included in this volume as an appendix. 

The Positivity of the Christian Religion, The Spirit of Christianity, 
and the Fragment of a System, all now translated for the first time, 1 
were left in manuscript at Hegel's death and remained unpublished 
(except for fragments in Rosenkranz's Life of Hegel and Haym's 
book on Hegel and His Time) until 1907. Since then they have given 
rise to an immense literature in Germany, Italy, and France, but 
they are almost unknown in Great Britain and very little known in 
America. Hegel's manuscripts were untitled; the titles now given 
to them are Nohl's. The sectional headings, except those un- 
bracketed in The Positivity of the Christian Religion (which are 
Hegel's), are the translator's. 

The fragments collected by Nohl under the general title The 
Positivity of the Christian Religion are little more than first drafts; 
this is clear from their general form as well as from the repetitions 
they contain. Nonetheless, the gifts of a great historian are fore- 
shadowed in the section on how Christianity conquered paganism, 
and passage after passage already witnesses to Hegel's remarkable 
mastery of language. 

The Spirit of Christianity is much more carefully elaborated. The 
manuscript, full as it is of "erasures, reveals prodigious labour." 2 
After years of theological study, Hegel came to the conclusion that 
the spirit underlying the letter of Christian dogma could be dis- 
cerned only if he first placed the teaching of Jesus in its historical 
context; but, when he had done so, what he found was so different 
from his earlier rationalism that to understand its implications and 
to describe it adequately was a formidable task. Throughout the 
essay his concern is with the spirit of Judaism and the spirit of 

1. So far as I know, the only one of Hegel's early theological writings 
which has previously been translated into any language is his "Life of Jesus." 
Of this, there is a French translation, with an introduction, by D. D. Rosca 
(Paris, 1928). 

2. Roques, Hegel, sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris, 1912), p. 45. 

[vi] 



PREFATORY NOTE 

Christianity, and he takes the biblical records as tone in spirit 
without raising the general question of their authenticity in mat- 
ters of fact. Dilthey even goes so far as to say of this essay that 
"Hegel never wrote anything finer." 3 This may be an over estimate; 
I have more sympathy with other German writers who describe it 
as "enigmatical" (ratselhaff) . Yet it is certainly a powerful and 
shrewd piece of work; and, whatever theologians may think of it, 
philosophers will be interested to find in it Hegel's first criticisms 
of Kant's ethics, the germ (in iv) of the later dialectic, and the 
clue to several hard passages in The Phenomenology of Mind. 

The amount of annotation has had to be limited, and, instead of 
providing the numerous historical notes which might have been 
appended to The Positivity of the Christian Religion, I have thought 
it better to use most of the space at my disposal in an attempt to un- 
ravel some of the perplexities in The Spirit of Christianity. In doing 
so, I have derived help from Dilthey's Die Jugendgeschichte Hegels 
(in Gesamtnelte Schriften, Vol. IV [Leipzig and Berlin, 1925]); from 
Hacring's Hegel, sein Wollen und sein Werk, Volume I (Leipzig and 
Berlin, 1929); and from my friend, Professor Richard Kroner, 
who read my translations in manuscript. He solved for me many 
problems in translation and exegesis and made some valuable sug- 
gestions, but the final responsibility for any blemishes that remain 
is mine. 

In reading these essays, it is essential to take account of their 
dates. The first two parts of The Positivity of the Christian Religion 
were written in 1795-96, when Hegel was twenty-five and living 
in Bern; The Spirit of Christianity was written in Frankfort, prob- 
ably in 1798-99; Part III of The Positivity of the Christian Religion 
was also written in Frankfort, probably in 1800. In 1795 Hegel was 
still strongly under the influence of Kant and eighteenth-century 
rationalists, but a change in his point of view shows itself in his 
manuscripts from 1797 onward. On the reasons for this change and 
the importance of this early work of Hegel's both in itself and for 
the understanding of his later philosophy, it is unnecessary to 

3. Die Jugmdgcschichte Hrgcls (Leipzig and Berlin, 1925), p. 68. 

[vii] 



PREFATORY NOTE 

write further here, partly because Professor Kroner has touched on 
these matters in his Introduction to an extent sufficient for the pur- 
poses of this volume, and partly because I hope to have an oppor- 
tunity of dealing with them more fully elsewhere in a book on the 
development of Hegel's thought. 

It was for my own use in connection with this project that my 
translation of these essays was made. I originally agreed to publish 
it at the request of Dr. Helmut Kuhn of the University of North 
Carolina, and I should like to express my gratitude to him for his 
interest in my work. I wish also to acknowledge my indebtedness 
to Dr. Erich Frank of Bryn Mawr, formerly professor of philoso- 
phy in Marburg, who read my work for the University of Chicago 
Press and whose criticisms have enabled me to make several im- 
provements in the translation and notes. 

T. M. KNOX 
ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND 
November 1, 1946 



CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHICAL DEVELOP- 
MENT. By RICHARD KRONER 1 

I. THE POSIT1VITY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. 

Translated by T. M. KNOX 67 

PART I. How CHRISTIANITY BECAME THE POSITIVE RELIGION OF 

\ CHURCH . . 67 

1. Preface 67 

2. Position of the Jewish Religion . . 68 

3. Jesus 69 

4. Whence Came the Positive Element in Christianity? . 71 

5. The Conception of a Sect . 74 

6. The Teaching of Jesus 75 

7. Jesus Has Much To Say about His Own Individual 
Personality .75 

8. Jesus Speaks of Himself as the Messiah 77 

9. Miracles 78 

10. The Positive Element Derived from the Disciples . 81 

1 1 . The Disciples Contrasted with the Pupils of Socrates 82 

12. The Number of Disciples Fixed at Twelve ... 82 

13. The Disciples Sent Forth on Their Mission 83 

14. The Resurrection and the Commands Given There- 
after 83 

15. How the Teaching of Jesus Came To Be Interpreted 

in a Positive Sense 85 

1 6. What Is Applicable in a Small Society Is Unjust in a 
State 86 

17. Common Ownership of Goods . 87 

18. Equality 88 

19. The Lord's Supper ... 89 

20. Expansionism 91 

21 . How a Moral or Religious Society Grows into a State 95 

[ix] 



CONTENTS 

22. Conflict between Church and State: (a) In Matters 
Affecting Civil Rights Generally 108 

23. (b) In Matters Affecting Property .... Ill 

24. (c) In Matters Affecting Education 114 

25. Two Incidental Remarks about Church and State Rela- 
tions 117 

26. The Ecclesiastical Contract: Representation and the 
Power of the Citizens in Matters of Doctrine . . 118 

27. Contract with the State 124 

28. Defense of the Faith . 129 

29. The Form Morality Must Acquire in a Church . . 135 

30. The Rise of Sects Inevitable .... .142 

PART II. MATERIALS FOR A CONTINUATION OF PART I . . 145 

1. "Is Judaea, Then, the Teutons' Fatherland?" . . 145 

2. How Christianity Conquered Paganism . . . . 151 

3. How a Disinclination for Military Service Helped the 
Success of Christianity . . 164 

4. Miracles . . . .... . .165 

PART III. REVISED FORM OF SECTIONS 1-4 OF PART I . . . 167 

1. Preface ... .... . . 167 

2. Judaism .177 

3. Jesus .... 179 

II. THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY AND ITS FATE. Trans- 

lated by T. M. KNOX . . . . . .182 

i. The Spirit of Judaism 182 

ii. The Moral Teaching of Jesus: (a) The Sermon on the 
Mount Contrasted with the Mosaic Law and with Kant's 

Ethics . 205 

iii. The Moral Teaching of Jesus: (/3) Love as the Transcend- 
ence of Penal Justice and the Reconciliation of Fate . . 224 

iv. The Religious Teaching of Jesus 253 

v. The Fate of Jesus and His Church . . ... 281 



CONTENTS 

III. LOVE. Translated by T. M. KNOX 302 

IV. FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM. Translated by RICHARD KRONER 309 

APPENDIX: ON CLASSICAL STUDIES. Translated by RICHARD 

KRONER 321 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE, fry RICHARD KRONFK . 331 

INDEX . . 335 



[xi] 



INTRODUCTION 

HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHICAL DEVELOPMENT 
By RICHARD KRONER 

I. YEARS OF EXPERIMENT 

HEGEL was born in Stuttgart in 1770, when the Age of Reason 
and Enlightenment was closing and the day of the Romantics 
was at hand. Both these contemporary influences affected his think- 
ing, and he derived another, no less powerful, from his early educa- 
tion at the Stuttgart Gymnasium. This was the influence of Greek 
and Roman ideas. . 

The realms of learning which attracted him most during his 
school years were religion and history, and especially the history 
of religion. A paper "On the Religion of the Greeks and Romans" 
by the seventeen-year-old Hegel shows that his philosophical genius 
was already alive. "The wise men of Greece/' he wrote in this 
essay, "thought that the deity had endowed every man with means 
and energies sufficient for his happiness and that it had modeled the 
nature of things in such a way as to make it possible for true happi- 
ness to be obtained by wisdom and human goodness." Other papers 
are even more philosophical. One has the title "On the Judgment 
of Common Sense about Objectivity and Subjectivity of Ideas." 

In the Philosophy of Right Hegel reflects on his own experience as 
a schoolboy. "The instruction of youth, it is true, has to be carried 
through in solitude, but one should not assume that the scent of the 
spiritual world does not permeate this solitude after all and that the 
power of the universal mind is not strong enough to take possession 
even of these remote sections of life." 1 In his early years he was 
molded by this "universal mind," by European history, and particu- 

l. 153. 

[1] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

larly by the Greeks. But he also felt the impact of modern thought. 
When he was eleven years old, Schiller's drama The Robbers was 
first being performed, and although the boy probably was not yet 
attending the theater, the spirit of Schiller must sooner or later 
have reached the "remote section" of Hegel's life, kindling enthu- 
siasm for the ideals of the great poet. 

In the fall of 1788 Hegel entered the Stiff at Tubingen, a theo- 
logical seminary where many celebrated sons of Swabia had been 
educated among them Johannes Kepler, the astonomer, and, in 
Hegel's own time, Schelling and Holderlin. The influence of this 
school on Hegel, at least in its immediate effects, was not very 
strong. Obviously dissatisfied with the lectures he was attending, 
he found the "universal mind" in things outside the school curricu- 
lum in Greek and especially Platonic philosophy, which he 
studied privately, and in contemporary events of the literary and 
political spheres. 

In 1788 Kant's Critique of Practical Reason appeared. In 1789 the 
French Revolution broke out. In 1790 Kant published the Critique 
of Judgment, perhaps the greatest of all his works, certainly the 
most comprehensive and stimulating, with exciting new ideas about 
truth and beauty, nature and art, the purpose of God and the place 
of man in the universe. In the same year Goethe's drama Tasso and 
the fragment of Faust were published. In 1792 a revolutionary theo- 
logical and philosophical essay was published anonymously under 
the provocative title Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (Versuch 
einer Kritik oiler Offenbarung) . Since the publisher was Kant's and 
since Kant's philosophy of religion was eagerly expected, the public 
surmised that the work was his. But the author was actually Fichte, 
whose star was just then beginning to rise. These years also saw the 
rediscovery of Spinoza's philosophic system, created more than a 
century before but exercising little influence on European thought. 

Growing up in such a world a world of great political, philo- 
sophical, and poetical movements, of spiritual adventures, of tre- 
mendous undertakings and convulsions Hegel could not fail to be 
stirred. The Spinoza revival, especially, left permanent traces in 

12] 



INTRODUCTION 

Hegel's mind, as it did in Fichte's and Schelling's. It is no exaggera- 
tion to say that German speculative idealism is Spinozism worked 
out on the level of Kant's critical philosophy. Of course, Spinozism 
as it was adopted by the representatives of Storm and Stress was 
no longer the rationalistic system of its author. It was instinct with 
the new impetus of an age which denied the sovereignty of reason 
and insisted that poetry and faith had rights of their own. 

Hegel grew up when the Age of Reason was in decline and the 
Age of Emotion and Imagination was conquering the German soul. 
The official atmosphere of the Stuttgart school and of the Tubingen 
Seminary was still that of enlightened reason, but the world out- 
side was dominated by the new spirit. And the writings of the 
young Hegel, though they show marks of his academic education, 
give evidence on an increasing scale of the direct influence of the 
new movement. Especially from Herder's books and pamphlets 
Hegel learned that reason has to be animated by emotion, reflection 
by insight, argumentation by enthusiasm, in order to satisfy the en- 
tire man and reach the depths of reality. 

THE IDEAL OF FOLK RELIGION 

In considering religion historically, particularly the contrast be- 
tween Greek folk religion and Christian book religion, Hegel be- 
gan by accepting folk religion as interpreted in the light of Herder's 
ideas. Greek religion was to Hegel the religion of imagination and 
enthusiasm the values exalted by Storm and Stress. Christianity 
appeared as the religion of Enlightenment dominated by reason. 
There can be no question where the sympathies of the young man 
lay; they were with his own generation, not with that of his teach- 
ers. This is clear from manuscripts written when he was about 
twenty-five years old. 

Religion, he then held, should not be learned from books or con- 
fined to dogma, memory, and moral rules; it should not be a theo- 
logical religion. Rather it should be a living power, flourishing in 
the real life of a nation, in their habits, ideals, customs, actions, and 
festivals, in their hearts and will, in their deeds as well as in their 

f3] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

imagination. It should be popular, not clerical. It should be the con- 
cern not of a special church but of the nation as a whole. Its sphere 
should not be restricted to private persons but should be one with 
the political organization of the republic. Religion should be not 
otherworldly but humane. Unlike the gloomy religion of the cross, 
it should glorify not suffering and martyrdom but joy and earthly 
life. It should appeal to the senses and natural emotions rather than 
to the intellect. It should not be scholastic but should captivate the 
sense of beauty as Greek religion did. 

The young Hegel would have liked to give up his own Christian 
faith and go back to the days of Greek paganism. He shared that 
love and admiration for the Greeks which was then common to 
many German poets and writers and especially to his close com- 
panions in the Tubinger Stiff, Schelling and Holderlin.The friends of 
Greece idealized antiquity. They venerated Hellas as a country 
that had attained to a sublimely humane civilization based upon 
political freedom, philosophical wisdom, and artistic perfection. 

Throughout his life Hegel retained his vivid admiration for the 
ancient Greeks, their political institutions and ethical virtues, the 
profundity of their tragedies and the beauty of their architecture and 
sculpture. But, as he grew older, his youthful enthusiasm became 
more temperate. This change began while he was still at Bern, 
after he started studying the moral philosophy of Kant; reaction 
deepened during his years in Frankfort, with the synthesis of his 
Hellenic ideals and theological studies. 

THE INFLUENCE OF KANT 

Before Hegel achieved this synthesis, he began to read Kant 
thoroughly, especially his Critique of Practical Reason and Religion 
'within the Limits of Mere Reason. Some authors today have tried to 
minimize Kant's influence upon Hegel. In vain. To eliminate the 
Kantian element in Hegel's philosophy is like eliminating the 
Platonic element in Aristotle. Hegel became a Kantian the moment 
he understood the revolution brought about by Kant's Critical 
Philosophy; and he remained a Kantian throughout his life, no mat- 



INTRODUCTION 

ter how much he disputed many of Kant's doctrines and even his 
fundamental position. Hegel would never have found his dialectical 
method without the "Transcendental Dialectic" in Kant's Critique 
of Pure Reason. 2 

Greek religion was conceived of by Hegel as a humane and na- 
tional religion, Christianity as an institutional and statutory (i.e., 
"positive") religion rooted in a foreign book and in an unpopular 
dogma. Kant seemed to suggest a third type of religion based en- 
tirely on man's autonomous conscience and moral reason. Is "ra- 
tional faith," as Kant styled this moral religion, superior to both 
Greek paganism and dogmatic Christianity? Is it perhaps, as Kant 
thought, the only true form in which man can attain to a knowledge 
of God? Several passages in Hegel's writings during these years in- 
timate that he was ready to answer these questions in the affirma- 
tive. 

The weight of Kantian doctrine in Hegel's thinking was obvi- 
ously increasing. He criticized Christian religion not only by com- 
paring it with Greek folk religion but also by considering it in the 
light of Kant's moral rationalism, which rejects the "positive" 
elements in all religions as merely historical and therefore not pure- 
ly religious. 

Hegel's most interesting "experiment" with Kant's philosophy is 
an essay on the "Life of Jesus," 3 in which Jesus appears as a teacher 
of Kant's purely moral religion. "Pure Reason completely free of 
any limit or restriction whatsoever is the deity itself." In this essay 
Jesus advises men to revere "the eternal law of morality and Him 
whose holy will cannot be affected by anything but by the law." 4 
Jesus says: "You were commanded to love your friends and your 
nation, but you were permitted to hate your enemies I say how- 

2. See Richard Kroner, Von Kant bis Hegel (2 vols.; Tubingen, 1921-24), 
also Herbert Wacker, Das Verhdltnis des jungtn Hegel zu Kant (Berlin, 1932); 
and Georg Lasson's introduction to Hegel, Jenenser Logik, Metaphysik und 
Naturphihsophic (Leipzig, 1923), pp. xxiv and xxvi. 

3. Herman Nohl, Hfgels thcologische Jugcndschriften (Tubingen, 1907), pp. 
73-136. 

4. Ibid., p. 78. 

[5] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ever unto you : Respect mankind even in your enemy, if you cannot 
love him." 6 And again: "Act on the maxim which you can at the 
same time will to be a universal law among men. This is the funda- 
mental law of morality the content of all legislation and of the 
sacred books of all nations." 6 

Now this is not the Gospel. It is Kant, speaking through Jesus. 
If people wonder how Hegel could write such strange things, the 
answer is not too difficult : he was writing not for publication but to 
probe the doctrines and principles he found in the movements of his 
day. Since he was educated in a theological seminary, it was natural 
for him to interpret the teachings of Jesus through Kant's ideas and 
ideals. This was his way of appropriating Kantian philosophy to 
himself. In writing a life of Jesus with the conceptual tools of 
Kantian ethics, Hegel did not intend to commit himself to this in- 
terpretation. 

Hegel went on to expand this experiment from an interpretation 
of the life of Jesus to a discussion of the origin of the Christian 
religion as a whole. The chasm between the ethics of Kant and the 
doctrine of the Christian church is evident. How could that chasm 
originate if the founder's message substantially agreed with the 
principle of Kant's ethics or, rather, with the fundamental law of 
reason itself? How can the gulf between reason and revelation ever 
be understood? This cardinal question arose in the mind of the 
young thinker. 

Are there perhaps some incidents in the life of Jesus which forced 
him to express the law of reason in a form that deviated from reason 
and thereby became "positive"? True and pure religion is rational 
and moral; the Christian religion is ecclesiastical and encumbered 
with creeds, statutes, rites, rules, and dogmas with all the ele- 
ments of Judaism from which Jesus was trying to free religion. How 
did the religion of Jesus become transformed into the "positive" 
Christian religion? 

Hegel tried to answer this question in The Positivity of the Chris- 

5. Ibid., p. 84. 6. Ibid., p. 87. 

[6] 



INTRODUCTION 

tian Religion. Positivity, he wrote, is in a certain sense nothing else 
than historicity. Every historical fact is positive in that it is not 
purely and merely rational but conditioned and encompassed by his- 
torical circumstances. A religion is a historical reality; as such, it 
cannot be as abstract and definite as the law of reason. In this sense 
Greek religion was as positive as Judaism or Christianity. But 
Greek religion, in spite of its historically positive character, is 
more in agreement with moral freedom and autonomy than the 
doctrine of the Christian church. It had no statutes, no dogma, no 
creed, no codified moral rules, no church, no theology. It did not 
need all these positive institutions, which fetter human conscience 
and regulate human life. The Greek was a free man, wont to live 
in accordance with his own views and to enjoy his political liber- 
ties. His imagination was as free as his political status. 

The Greeks were the masters of their own inner and outer life. 
That is why they developed neither theological systems nor ec- 
clesiastic institutions. The moral law was alive in their souls, in a 
natural undisturbed harmony with reason, as their whole life was in 
complete harmony with nature; so their religion could be a happy 
play of imagination. Hellenic enthusiasm and Kantian ethics joined 
to form one front against Christianity, with its positive code of 
thought and action, its theoretical and practical system of life. 

How did this positive system arise? Hegel gives several reasons 
for this phenomenon among them, the historical circumstances 
under which Jesus first appeared. Jesus lived in the midst of a peo- 
ple deprived of its political freedom and secluded in its religious 
precinct, conforming to rules of almost monastical rigidity. These 
circumstances necessarily affected the early Christian community. 
Later on, after it was adopted by the proletariat of the Roman Em- 
pire, the positivity of Christian religion became even more marked. 

While Jesus aimed at a purely moral religion and fought against 
superstition and positivity, he could not help generating a church 
by positive means. He was bound to connect respect for the holi- 
ness of moral law with respect for the holiness of his own person. 
Thus the seed of ecclesiastical authority and of the positivity of all 

[7] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

religious forms and institutions was planted. This is the tragic ori- 
gin of the Christian church. 

Obviously, Hegel was fighting especially against the Roman 
Catholic church and took his examples from its history. The Protes- 
tant church is viewed as a fresh attempt at a purely moral religion, 
purged of all positive elements. "Great men have claimed that the 
fundamental meaning of 'Protestant' is a man or a church which has 
not bound itself to certain unalterable standards of faith but which 
protests against all authority in matters of belief." 7 

II. YEARS OF DISCOVERY 

In 1796 Hegel moved from Bern to Frankfort, where he spent 
the most fruitful years of his spiritual growth. His work of this 
period shows an abrupt change in his intellectual and philosophic 
views, in his style and cast of mind, in his whole personality. 
While he was at Bern during the years of experiment the spirit, 
subjects, taste, and style of his writings had been stamped by the 
Age of Reason and Enlightenment. Suddenly he broke with this 
tradition. 

The change of style from The Positivity of the Christia?i Religion 
(or more precisely of Parts I and II, Part III having been written 
much later) to The Spirit of Christianity is so radical as to be almost 
alarming. The author of the first essay might have been a contem- 
porary of Moses Mendelssohn, Lessing, Sulzer, or Kant; the au- 
thor of the second was evidently a contemporary of Jacobi, Herder, 
Schleiermacher, Fichte, Schelling, and Holderlin. A century seems 
to separate these two essays, which are the work of one man, writ- 
ing in successive years. 

Hegel's thinking was as strikingly altered as his style. The au- 
thor of The Spirit of Christianity was no longer the cautiously pon- 
dering and soberly reasoning representative of the Age of Enlight- 
enment. He was a Christian mystic, seeking adequate speculative 
expression. 

7. See below, p. 128. 

18] 



INTRODUCTION 

Hegel went through a period of self-estrangement to find him- 
self in the end a pattern of thinking which was to be character- 
istic of him throughout his life, part of the very fabric of his dialecti- 
cal method. It was his peculiar gift to be able to project himself into 
the minds of other people and of other periods, penetrating into the 
core of alien souls and strange lives, and still remain the man he was. 
Later on, he used this ability to make other intellectual worlds in- 
telligible by illuminating them, as it were, from within. Hegel was 
now to find himself. And it is of profound significance that he dis- 
covered his own soul by discovering the soul of Jesus. 

In The Positivity of the Christian Religion Hegel's thinking had 
been anti-Christian, or at least anti-ecclesiastical. The essay is per- 
meated by hostility to Christian teaching, or at least to Christian 
institutions, which stemmed from two sources: Hegel's love for 
Greek "folk religion" and his devotion to Kant's ethical doctrine. 
In The Spirit of Christianity a new feeling is apparent: deep sym- 
pathy for the doctrine of the Gospel, which had come to Hegel as 
the result of his inner struggle. This essay shows how the fusion 
of Greek Soul and Kantian Reason (a fusion of basic importance in 
his mature philosophic system) permitted Hegel to rise to the plane 
on which he could understand the message of Jesus. 

The soul of Greek religion is beauty; the reason of Kantian 
philosophy is morality. Hegel concluded that ultimate truth w^as 
moral beauty, and this truth he discovered in the Gospel. The moral 
principle of the Gospel is charity, or love, and love is the beauty of 
the heart, a spiritual beauty which combines the Greek Soul and 
Kant's Moral Reason. This is the synthesis achieved in The Spirit 
of Christianity. 

Within the new synthesis, Judaism took the place of Christian- 
ity as the villain of the piece. He denounced its "ugliness" the 
opposite of Greek beauty. He blamed the Israelites for secluding 
themselves instead of joining other peoples and for slavishly sub- 
mitting to a God as jealously exclusive as they were themselves. 
The spirit of the Greeks is union; that of the Israelites, disunion. 
The Greeks lived in friendship with Nature; the Israelites, in hos- 

m 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

tility toward her. So Judaism appeared to be radically opposed to 
the message of Jesus, who introduced into biblical religion the 
mood and spirit of the Greeks. The faith he created was a synthesis 
of Judaism and Hellenism. 

Since there is a certain spiritual kinship between Judaism and 
Kantianism, the new faith of Jesus may also be conceived of as the 
synthesis of Hellenism and Kantianism. Both the Old Testament 
and Kantian ethics exalt the idea of moral law and the relentless 
transcendence of the Absolute. Both are utterly remote from any 
personal mysticism and gnosticism and rigidly separate the spheres 
of God and the world. 

It is this rigorous separation that Hegel combats. Judaism and 
Kantianism represent, roughly speaking, a markedly monarchical 
theism; while Hellenism has, besides its poetical polytheism, a 
tendency toward pantheism which takes shape in Stoicism. It is 
Hegel's thesis that Jesus teaches a pantheism of love which recon- 
ciles Greek pantheism with Judaic and Kantian theism. 

What personal experiences gave a fresh approach to the essays 
Hegel wrote at Frankfort? This question is hard to answer. I be- 
lieve that not only the growth of his own personality but other cir- 
cumstances particularly association with his friend Holderlin, the 
sensitive poet who adored Greece with all the pathetic love of a 
Christian heart contributed a good deal to Hegel's new way of 
thinking. All his earlier experiences, combined with a renewed con- 
sideration of the meaning of the Gospel, brought about a deeper 
recognition of its truth. Hegel's interpretation is, it seems to me, 
one of the most remarkable attempts of its kind and belongs among 
the great commentaries on the inner life and destiny of Jesus. 

In order to penetrate into the core of the teaching of Jesus, 
Hegel used the terms and categories of Kant's ethical philosophy; 
but, in doing so, he transformed and adapted them. The result was 
as much an original exposition of Christian love as it was a new 
ethical and speculative conception of God as much a criticism of 
Kant as an adaptation of the Christian faith through philosophic 
meditation. It was also an attempt to reconcile the ideal of Hellenic 

[10] 



INTRODUCTION 

humanism with Kantian moralism. This reconciliation, Hegel be- 
lieved, was foreshadowed by the message of Jesus. 

PANTHEISM OF LOVE 

Hegel's first original philosophy might be called a "Pantheism of 
Love," arrived at through his opposition to Kant's strict contra- 
distinction between duty and inclination, moral law and natural im- 
pulse, reason and passion. Like Schiller, Holderlin, and the Roman- 
ticists, Hegel took exception to this harsh dichotomy, which 
threatened the unity of human personality. He tried to confute 
Kant by passing beyond him. 

Kant had insisted that man as a moral agent is autonomous, that 
it is his own practical reason which dictates the moral law: man is 
or rather, ought to be his own master. But this is just the diffi- 
culty. Because he ought to master himself, man is not really free 
but is divided against himself, half-free and half-slave. At best, he 
is his own slave, enslaved by his master, reason. The message of 
Jesus overcomes this diremption and unifies man inwardly. This is 
the import of the remission of sin and redemption by divine love. 
The new ethics preached by Jesus is not rational; it is an ethics of 
love. And love performs what reason can never perform : it har- 
monizes not only man with man but man with himself. 

The commandments of Jesus are commandments only as to their 
outer form, not as to their inner essential meaning. The form of an 
imperative is inadequate to the innermost life of the soul, since an 
imperative is necessarily conceptual, while life is an integral whole. 
The division into master and slave, into "ought" and "is," is the 
result of conceptual analysis. But life is substantial unity, undivided 
totality. All lines separating spheres or zones of living unity are 
artificial, mechanical, coercive. They tear asunder what belongs 
together and rend the unity of life. 

Jesus fulfilled the law by restoring dismembered life to its orig- 
inal integrity. More powerful than the Categorical Imperative is 
that spiritual inclination which conforms freely and instinctively to 
the law. This inclination is called love. It is the metaphysical cen- 

[in 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ter of life, the inner counterpart of beauty. It heals the discord of 
duty and inclination, of will and heart. It is the expression of the 
divine origin of man. In it the opposite aspect: of the human mind 
are originally united subjectivity and objectivity; animal and ra- 
tional nature; individuality and universality; motive and law; the 
psychological and ethical, physical and metaphysical, realistic and 
idealistic, volitional and intellectual powers of man's soul. 

Hegel's Pantheism of Love has all the characteristics of his fu- 
ture metaphysic. It aims at a reconciliation of opposites, tries to 
overcome one-sided rationalism, one-sided emotionalism, or one- 
sided empiricism. It is dialectical in its structure, although its 
method is not yet dialectical in the strict sense of the word. Hegel 
still feels that there is no possible logical path to ultimate truth, that 
a living unity of spiritual experience must take the place of a con- 
structed unity of concepts. 

"Since the divine is pure life, anything and everything said of it 
must be free from any [implication] of opposition. And all reflec- 
tion's expressions about the relations of the objective being .... 

must be avoided Only spirit can understand and comprehend 

spirit Hence it is only in spiritual terms that the divine can 

be spoken of." 8 These words contrast sharply with more mature 
utterances, in which Hegel flatly rejects exaltation or enthusiasm as 
a means of attaining to truth and sees the possibility of a conceptual 
system in which the divine content is expressed by logical opposi- 
tions. 

It is not difficult to recognize the link between this early theo- 
logical speculation and Hegel's mature philosophy. What Hegel 
rejected in framing the Pantheism of Love, he never reaffirmed 
later on. He found a new logic, a new rationalism to solve the prob- 
lem insoluble by the rationalism he had overcome in his earlier 
years. He found a method to perform by logic what, in the first 
period, seemed performable by the living spirit alone. 

8. See below, p. 255. 

[12] 



INTRODUCTION 

FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

In the year 1800 Hegel wrote a manuscript that summed up his 
views to that time and, in addition, foreshadowed an inclination to- 
ward Schelling's philosophy. What he had called "Life" in his 
earlier manuscripts he now in the fragment of 1800 tries to un- 
derstand in terms of a biological metaphysics. He identifies the mys- 
tery of organic unity with the mystery of the Real and regards the 
relation between the organism and its parts as the primordial oppo- 
sition out of which all metaphysical contradictions arise. 

Organic unity, if conceived as a particular element of the living 
being, is unable to unify the parts. It is in itself a part among other 
parts. But, viewed in its true essence, it is no such part but the 
whole of all parts. How can we conceive this relation? The prob- 
lem is not confined to the particular organism; it extends to the uni- 
versal organism or to the organic universe to the All of Life, to 
"Nature." Hegel wrestles with the problem of reconciling the op- 
posites the same problem he had encountered in his interpreta- 
tion of the Gospel. The Whole and the Parts, the Universe and the 
Particular Objects, the Infinite and the Finite, the Unlimited and 
the Limited are united in the Whole, the Universe, the Infinite. 

How is this possible? And how can this all-embracing unity be 
comprehended? Hegel is confronted by this oldest of problems, one 
which he avoided for a long time because he felt its tremendous im- 
port more strongly than any of his contemporaries, perhaps more 
than any European thinker since the great days of metaphysical 
speculation in ancient times. But now he can no longer avoid it. It 
has gripped him fast and will hold him as long as he lives. 

Hegel still takes refuge in religion. He still maintains that reli- 
gion alone can offer the key to this mystery. Philosophy cannot vie 
with religion. Spirit, not thought, is life. 

Thus during his years at Frankfort the years of discovery 
Hegel's spiritual life, his intellectual struggles, his affinities and 
antipathies were gathered into a synthesis which foreshadows his 
later philosophy. The fragment of 1800 enunciates this synthesis 
clearly. It shows that the deepest root of Hegel's system was a per- 

[13] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

sonal religious experience; living through this experience, he con- 
tended with all the influences of his time, especially with Fichte and 
Schelling. In an attempt to articulate his mystical certainty and em- 
brace the contrasts of thought, he proposed as a formula the "union 
of union and nonunion" 9 his future philosophic system in a nut- 
shell. In this system a triumphant victory was won over the powers 
about to destroy the unity of Hegel as a person. 

The manuscripts of this final youthful period disclose the energy 
of Hegel's intellect as well as the agitation of his heart. The strug- 
gle of his life was directed toward an inner peace that would satisfy 
reason and soul by a gigantic metaphysical conception. 

III. ROMANTICISM 

During Hegel's young manhood he was an enthusiastic Romanti- 
cist; and, although he became in his maturity an ardent realist and 
an outspoken critic of Romantic views, strands of his early Ro- 
manticism are woven into the pattern of his final philosophy. 

The Romanticism Hegel knew was the Storm and Stress move- 
ment developed to its ultimate conclusion. Jacobi, Herder, Hamann, 
Pestalozzi, and other leaders of Storm and Stress were combatting 
the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment, but most of them could not 
free themselves entirely from the concepts of enlightened reason. 
The Romanticists were completely emancipated. A few represen- 
tatives of Storm and Stress became Romanticists themselves. 
Fichte may be reckoned as belonging to both movements: his 
Wissenschaftslehre or Lore of Science, as Coleridge aptly translated 
the title though a typical product of Storm and Stress, prepared 
the ground for certain Romantic theories. Schelling, who had been 
a disciple of Fichte, developed into the philosophical apostle of 
Romanticism. 

The most original thinker of his time, Hegel was also more deep- 
ly indebted to his contemporaries than to anyone else. He was influ- 
enced by both Fichte's Lore of Science and Schelling's System of 
Transcendental Idealism. He followed the paths pointed out by Kant 

9. See below, p. 312. 

[14] 



INTRODUCTION 

and Fichte, Schiller and Schleiermacher, by the leaders of Storm 
and Stress and by the Romanticists. 

The Romantic mind is scornful of sharp boundary lines between 
realms of thought and life. It deliberately confounds poetry with 
philosophy or both with prophecy, imagination with reality, actor 
with spectator, the divine with the human, the ideal with the real, 
life with dream. The Romanticist believes in the unity underlying 
all these zones and divisions. Fusing science and religion, psychol- 
ogy and physics, mind and matter, he anticipates a universal science 
which would happily comprise them all. Some Romanticists tried 
to compass this end by a poetical interpretation of nature. Others 
adapted ethics to physics, or religion to poetry. 

Hegel was a Romanticist in his longing for unity; he was anti- 
Romantic in the way he gratified this longing. Like the Roman- 
ticists, he firmly believed that all things were ultimately one and 
that boundaries were merely provisional. In the writings considered 
above he called this basic unity "Life' 7 a term which retained 
some of its original spell over him even after it had been superseded 
by the word Geist, which means either "mind" or "spirit." 10 But 
he insisted that ultimate unification was to be brought about by a 
rational rather than a Romantic method. While the Romanticists 
were content with denying ultimate separation, indulging in pic- 
torial language and paradoxes to give force to their negation, 
Hegel tried to demonstrate that distinctions break down before the 
tribunal of logic. He was convinced that the more accurately we 
think, the clearer becomes the impossibility of drawing clearly de- 
fined boundaries between our concepts. The original unity of all 
things is for him not the object of a mystical or poetical intuition but 
a truth discovered by logic. Not imagination alone, but under- 
standing and reason, witness to the truth of the Romantic creed, 
which thus stands revealed as something more than Romantic. 
Hegel's Preface to The Phenomenology of Mind is the most power- 
fully worded document of this conviction. 

Most of Hegel's early writings, permeated with the spirit of 

10. Sec below, p. 24. 

[15J 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Storm and Stress, offer an interpretation of the Gospel and Chris- 
tian dogma culminating in the idea of Love. Love overcomes all dif- 
ferentiations of life and thought and restores the original unity of 
all men. Love is wiser than understanding and reflection. The soul 
that loves reaches God. Hegel also reflected on the function of 
spirit a power that conquers the citadel of division by unifying 
the most tenacious of all oppositions, the opposition between ob- 
jectivity and subjectivity. Christianity arose as the religion of spir- 
it. But it was the fate of Christianity to call back an already de- 
feated enemy. Spirit submits to the necessity of becoming objective 
itself as creed and dogma, or as codified faith in preference to the 
love that binds the community together. The conclusion of the 
essay on The Spirit of Christianity is therefore gloomy and destruc- 
tive. The intent of Jesus cannot be maintained in his community. 
Neither love nor even spirit can bring about absolute reconciliation 
the ultimate goal of life and thought. Is there any other light? 
Any other possibility of reaching the goal? 

Hegel turned to Greek folk religion as exhibiting the unity of 
national life and religious belief. This philhellenic affection is in 
itself a Romantic trait. The Romanticists like to look back to some 
state of perfect happiness and beauty a Romantic counterpart of a 
biblical paradise characterized by a quasi-historical nature. Thus 
Hegel called Greece the "paradise of the human spirit." 11 

Other Romantics especially Wackenroder, Novalis, and. later 
on, Friedrich Schlegel extolled the Catholic Middle Ages, and 
Hegel, too, praised medieval features. But he was realistic enough 
to see the weaknesses of past civilizations, and he was anti-Roman- 
tic in glorifying the present as the fruitful moment or kairos given 
to his generation that it might consummate the work of earlier 
periods. 

The Romantic poets regarded beauty as a metaphysical prin- 
ciple and extended its dominion over the universe. Schelling, follow- 
ing them, crowned his Philosophy of Nature by a speculative aes- 
thetics which exalted the man of creative genius as the apogee of 

II. See below, p. 325. 

[16] 



INTRODUCTION 

nature. Hegel, at first accepting Schelling's aestheticism, finally re- 
jected this Romantic creed. Although the principle of beauty was 
high in his scale of values, it reached its position not as an aes- 
thetic but as an ethical and religious principle. 

"Truth is beauty intellectually represented," 12 we read in one of 
the early writings. But how can beauty and particularly that 
spiritual beauty called "love' ' be represented by intellectual means? 
Can this be done at all? The Fragment of a System of 1800 seems to 
deny the possibility. Ultimate truth cannot be construed by con- 
ceptual methods. The intellect is unable to vie with the immediacy 
and fulness of life. Love outshines speculation, which, after all, must 
be based on reflection, and therefore on distinctions and separations. 
Even the categories of organic life used by Hegel in an attempt to 
solve the metaphysical problem ultimately fail. Not the intellect 
but finite life alone can rise to infinite life. 

This result could not permanently satisfy the speculative am- 
bition of Hegel's mind. As a mere phase in his development it was 
destined to yield to further investigations. Hegel became convinced 
that philosophy, confronted with the problem of ultimate reconcilia- 
tion, must let religion take the lead. But religion, as his historical 
studies had demonstrated, did not offer a final solution. "It is the 
fate [of the Christian religion] that church and state, worship and 
life, piety and virtue, spiritual and worldly action can never dis- 
solve into one." 13 In this respect Greek religion was more success- 
ful. A way should be found to preserve and unite the scattered ele- 
ments of perfection: the harmony of a national religion, the truth 
of the Gospel, and the demands of speculation. Through specula- 
tion, absolute harmony and absolute truth should be gathered up 
into one great synthesis. Hegel searched for this solution. 

The early writings hint at the direction in which Hegel may 
have been seeking new light. Speaking about the mystery of the 
Eucharist, he says that "love, made objective .... reverts once 
more to its nature, becomes subjective again in the eating." 14 Here 

12. See below, p. 196. 

13. See below, p. 301. 14. See below, p. 251. 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

a consequential discovery is made. A way seems to open for re- 
solving the hardest and most comprehensive of all oppositions. 

There is a mysterious circle in religious experience. Spiritual 
life objectifies itself and then turns back to itself, so that it comes 
full circle but not without first enriching the mind. The inner life 
is revealed by a symbolic act in the outer world, and the outer 
world is retransformed into an inner experience. Could this process 
perhaps have a wider scope than its symbolical and ritual meaning 
would indicate? Could it point to a hidden law of the spirit itself? 
Moreover, if it should be possible to express this law in universal 
terms, would not the basic problem of speculation be solved? A 
great avenue opens. The union of opposites might be achieved 
when the thinking mind traverses the circle adumbrated in the re- 
ligious rite. This unification may turn out to be reunification of 
that which is originally one, and the process of diversification and 
reunification may manifest the very essence of the underlying 
unity. 

The early writings throw a little more light on this subject. Is 
the dogma of the Trinity perhaps an intellectual attempt to compre- 
hend that divine process through which the believer inwardly 
passes while taking part in the Lord's Supper? "The culmination of 
faith, the return to the Godhead whence man is born, closes the 
circle of man's development." 16 The child knows God without being 
taught. It is still united with the source of life. In its development 
the child becomes separated from his origin. Faith at last restores 
the original harmony. This circular course is necessary. There can 
be no love, no life, without disunity and return to unity. Disunity 
and unity, connection and disconnection, are intrinsically con- 
joined. This spiritual relation obtains not only between man and 
God but also between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
The Holy Trinity appears as a process by which the original unity 
of life is divided as well as restored. Hegel's future method is clearly 
anticipated by this early trinitarian speculation. Even the later dis- 

15. Sec below, p. 273. 

[18] 



I NTRODUCTION 

tinction between understanding (reflection) and reason (specula- 
tion) is foreshadowed by the distinction of intellect and spirit. 

At an early stage in his development Hegel saw clearly that the 
intellect, trying to conceive things divine, necessarily encounters 
contradictions and that these contradictions, far from being fatal to 
comprehension, make it possible to grasp life. "What is a contradic- 
tion in the realm of the dead is not one in the realm of life/' 16 he ex- 
claims jubilantly. The sphere of thought as opposed to that of life 
is dead. Is there any access to the realm of life by means of thought? 
If so, it is obvious that extraordinary efforts must be made to find 
it and make it available to everyone. 

Hegel's dissatisfaction with the negative result of his position of 
1800 is not only to be inferred as psychologically probable; it is 
explicitly stated by Hegel himself. In a memorable letter dated 
November 2, 1800, he wrote to Schelling: "In my scientific devel- 
opment which began with the more subordinate needs of man, I was 
compelled to proceed toward science (philosophy), and at the same 
time the ideal of my youth had to be transformed into the form of 
reflection, into a system." He adds that he is still engaged in this 
undertaking, implying that he is not yet content with the result he 
has reached. The letter is the expression of a man still seeking his 
definite position and not yet certain of himself. 

What was certain in him was his ideal. But the task implied in 
this ideal of reconciling life and thought, faith and reason, spirit 
and intellect, and of expressing the ideal in the form of reflection 
was not yet discharged. To this task the years from 1 800 to 1 807 are 
dedicated. In the philosophical language of these years, the opposi- 
tion between life and thought appears in the form of an opposition 
between intuition and reflection. Is there any possibility of unifica- 
tion? Is there an intuition which can be cast in reflective terms a 
reflection which spontaneously returns to intuition? In other words, 
is there an intuitive reflection or a reflective intuition? An intellec- 
tual power equal to the spirit? The final answer is affirmative. 
Within the intellect itself there is such a power; Hegel calls it 

16. See below, p. 261. 

[19] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

"reason," Reason leads the intellect to ever higher levels of insight 
up to the highest stage of complete reconciliation. 

HEGEL AND SCHELLING 

In 1801 Hegel joined, as he styled it, 17 the "literary rush" of 
Jena, the intellectual capital of letters and philosophy. Here Fichte 
had given his powerful lectures about the first principles of all phi- 
losophy, arousing the enthusiasm of young students by his imperi- 
ous mind and moral idealism. In the University of Jena he had initi- 
ated a Kantian movement which marked the victory of the philo- 
sophical revolution throughout Germany. In Jena the Romanticists, 
Friedrich and Wilhelm Schlegel, Novalis, Tieck, and others, had 
written their manifestoes and preached the new gospel to the world. 
Here Schiller had taught history and Goethe had composed some of 
his classical poems. Schelling in 1790 had begun to lecture about 
the philosophy of nature and had soon gathered a crowd of ardent 
adherents who went into raptures when the young master told them 
that Nature is not a mechanical process in which dead atoms are 
pushing and pushed but creative and divine power, a stream of life, 
organizing itself and enlivening all things. 

When Hegel entered this arena of intellectual competition, the 
poets and thinkers were about to scatter. The heyday of Romanti- 
cism was already waning. The Schlegels had left Jena, Novalis had 
died in 1800, Schiller had moved for the short remainder of his life 
to Weimar, the seat of the Muses, and Fichte, after many an un- 
pleasant quarrel with the students and the government, had gone to 
Berlin. Jena was on the decline. The "rush" was over. Soon even 
Schelling would desert the university. But this was just the hour for 
Hegel's rise. He is the heir of the Romanticists, of Fichte and of 
Schelling, and of Jena's Kantianism. He preserved the thoughts dis- 
seminated by them, and he fulfilled what they had promised. 

Moreover, Hegel was called upon to transcend the horizon of the 
Romanticists, to reconcile their revolutionary message with the 
more sober views of Enlightenment, to transform their dreams and 

17. Brief f von und an Hegel (Leipzig, 1887), p. 26. 

[20] 



INTRODUCTION 

fantasies into realistic concepts. He was called upon to intellectual- 
ize Romanticism and to spiritualize Enlightenment, to achieve the 
synthesis of all the German movements since Leibniz and Winckel- 
mann, Lessing and Mendelssohn, Herder and Jacobi, up to his own 
time. 

Hegel was no cool spectator of these movements. He was deeply 
moved by them himself. But he was very modest in expressing his 
own thoughts. His letter to Schelling (November 2, 1800) 18 is the 
best example of this stern self-criticism. "I have watched your 
great public career," Hegel wrote, u with admiration and joy. I as- 
sume you exempt me from speaking about it in a humble way or 
from attempting to show you that I too can do something myself. I 
will avail myself of the middle course and say that I hope we will 
meet again as friends. I look to you full of confidence that you may 
recognize my unselfish efforts though their sphere be lower than 
yours, and that you may acknowledge some value in them." 

In the eyes of the world and probably in his own and in Schel- 
ling's eyes, as well Hegel was his friend's pupil and disciple. 
When Hegel became a lecturer at the University of Jena, he quali- 
fied for the appointment with a dissertation De orbitis planetarum, 
in which he subscribed to Schelling's philosophy of nature. To- 
gether with Schelling, he announced philosophic disputations for the 
winter semester 1801/2. With Schelling he edited a philosophic 
journal, Kritisches Journal der Fhilosophie, in 1802 and 1803, in 
which they published their own articles anonymously, making the 
authorship uncertain for a century until Nohl discovered an au- 
thentic list of those written by Hegel. But, in spite of this close 
collaboration, there was a definite divergence between the views of 
the two men, and the gulf widened the longer their association 
lasted. The final break between them came with the publication of 
Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind in 1807. 

Differences of character, temperament, interests, inclinations, and 
spiritual valuations separated the friends from the outset. Schelling 
was fascinated by the world of sense and aesthetic beauty; Hegel 

18. Ibid., pp. 27-28. 

[21] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

was stirred by the spiritual world and the riddles of the soul. Schel- 
ling was primarily interested in speculations about nature; Hegel, in 
speculations about God as manifested in history. These differences 
were enough to create a certain divergence of outlook, but they 
need not have meant a break between the two men. Schelling, after 
all, had to admit that there is a certain duality between nature and 
mind, and this duality compelled him to produce a philosophy com- 
plementing the philosophy of nature. In fact, he never asserted that 
the philosophy of nature was all-embracing. In his System of Tran- 
scendental Idealism (1800), he maintained that nature and mind are 
two different and parallel branches of Totality, and he concluded 
that mind in its sovereign products furnishes the key to the under- 
standing of nature. But the final clash was nevertheless inevitable, 
because in philosophy all depends upon the question of primacy. 
Schelling, at least in these years of companionship with Hegel, was 
convinced that ultimately the unity of nature and of mind had to be 
conceived in terms of a universal philosophy of nature and not in 
those of a universal philosophy of mind. But precisely this had been 
Hegel's conviction. It was "the ideal of his youth." 

The difference between Hegel and Schelling was not at first 
apparent. Slowly, cautiously, Hegel was trying to express what 
seemed inexpressible, to think through what seemed unthinkable. 
His philosophic system did not spring full-panoplied from his mind 
like Athena from the head of Zeus; it was born after enormous 
pangs of travail. The decisive step was taken as early as 1 801 , when 
he discovered the principle of his method and the foundation of his 
whole system. But his views between 1800 and 1807 were still in a 
state of continuous modification, transformation, and growth. 

CRITICISM OF SCHELLING 

Before Hegel became a member of the teaching staff in the Uni- 
versity of Jena, he wrote "in a few months" 19 during the spring 
and summer of 1801 his first significant book, The Difference be- 
tween the Systems of Fichte and Schelling. It appeared after Schelling 

19. K. Rosenkranz, Hegels Leben (1845), p. 149. 

[22] 



INTRODUCTION 

had published in the same year The Presentation of My System of 
Philosophy. At first glance Hegel seems to take sides with his 
friend. And so he does; but this is only half the story. He also 
praises elements in Fichte's philosophy which were not accepted by 
Schelling. Far from writing as a blind adherent of Schelling's, 
Hegel assumes the role of an umpire between the adversaries, sur- 
veying the views of both men with equal sympathy but also with 
critical strictness, and reserving the right to reject either system. 

This attitude agrees strikingly with the last paragraph of Hegel's 
philosophic sketch completed the year before. There he has said 
that a religion which does not reconcile the conflict between Objec- 
tivity and Subjectivity, or between Nature and the Ego, but instead 
insists upon the ascendance of the Ego over Nature (as Fichte's sys- 
tem does) would be preferable to a reconciliation, "if the union [of 
the eternal] with the temporal were ignoble and ignominious." 20 
The meaning of these words may be subject to different interpreta- 
tions. In any case, it is clear that Hegel was uncertain as to which 
system was to be preferred that of Schelling, which tried to recon- 
cile Nature and Ego, or that of Fichte, which repudiated this recon- 
ciliation. The doubtful words may imply either that the final de- 
cision depends on the character of the reconciling system or that it 
depends on the character of the moment in which the reconciliation 
would be achieved. 21 "Ransoming the time" would in both cases be 
allowed only if such an undertaking were honest and decent; Fichte's 
solution was the "worthiest and noblest," if no honest and de- 
cent association with the moment were possible. Whether the 
moment had already come in which the time could be honestly and 
decently redeemed was doubtful. The character of the system of 
Schelling did not seem to support this assumption. 

The German language has only one word for mind and spirit, and 
it would be hazardous to say which of the two English terms is 

20. See below, p. 319. 

21. This interpretation is suggested by the letter to Schelling (see n. 18 
above) in which Hegel writes : "Wishing and hoping to meet you I must also 
honor destiny and must expect from its favor the manner of our meeting." 
These words show the significance Hegel ascribed to the anticipated meeting. 

[23] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

nearer to the German Geist. Some translators have rendered it by 
"mind," some by "spirit." I venture to suggest that the whole "se- 
cret of Hegel" (as Hutchison Stirling calls it) rests upon this 
double meaning of the word Geist and upon the overtones which are 
missing in either of the English words. Geist denotes both the hu- 
man mind and the divine spirit. Even the English "Ghost" in the 
phrase "the Holy Ghost" is Geist in German. These linguistic facts 
are, like all linguistic facts, more than merely linguistic; they em- 
body experiences and feelings, forms of apprehension, and an inter- 
pretation of just those things which matter most in philosophy. 
Schelling did not recognize that the deepest problem concerns the 
relation between the divine and the human, between mind and spir- 
it. Therefore his reconciliation of Nature and Ego was not so 
"worthy and noble" as Fichte's resignation. Fichte at least had 
understood the depth of the human mind. The Wissenschaftslehre 
was a shining proof of this. 

This limitation in Schelling' s philosophy was connected with 
another. Not only did he fail to recognize the real problem which 
needed solution; he did not apply the only possible method which 
might generate a solution through a reconciliation of opposites. 
Schelling saw clearly that the logic of reflection is unable to tran- 
scend the sphere of distinctions and differences; that it is the fate of 
the intellect to become entangled in insoluble antinomies. But he 
found no way out of these difficulties other than a leap into intui- 
tion. In order to justify his procedure, Schelling called his intui- 
tion "intellectual." 

Hegel was aware that this intellectual intuition was a tour dc 
force which violated the intellect without reconciling it with intui- 
tion. He did not say this in so many words, but the implication is 
clear. Schilling's method was no better than Jacobi's appeal to an 
inner experience which would assure us of the existence of a per- 
sonal God without any proof; in fact, it was the same kind of es- 
cape from the obligations of philosophic demonstration. It was a 
flight into an area outside and beyond philosophy, the resignation 
of the philosopher in favor of the poet. 

[24] 



INTRODUCTION 

Hegel at no time shared in the Romantic conception of the poet 
as the perfect philosopher. In his early writings he had denied this 
idea. He held that religion, not poetry, opens the door to the deep- 
est things; that a spiritual, not an aesthetic, "intuition" must under- 
lie reflections about ultimate truth; that the inner beauty of the 
heart, not the outer beauty of artistic perfection, provides the mod- 
el and standard of speculation. Only in one respect was Hegel's 
position of 1800 precisely parallel to Schelling's in the same year: 
they both abandoned any attempt to transform their deepest in- 
sights into an adequate philosophy. Like Schelling, Hegel appealed 
to a realm beyond reflective thought. With Schelling this realm was 
poetry; with Hegel, religion. 

In 1801 Schelling boldly asserted that he had found the philoso- 
pher's stone. His new system, he claimed, solved the ultimate riddle. 
Hegel cannot have been blind to the limitations of Schelling's 
thinking. He realized too well the nature of the difficulties not really 
mastered by his friend. He understood the terrible struggle of the 
intellect that tries to cope with the antinomies, and he knew the 
only way in which these antinomies could be conquered. But the 
daring stroke of Schelling's philosophic system shook his mind, in- 
flamed his heart, and awakened the energies of his speculative 
genius. It challenged him to find a solution which would satisfy the 
mind by combining Romanticism with the critical conscience of 
logical reflection. In this situation he subjected the system of 
Fichte to a new examination by confronting it with Schelling's. 

AMALGAMATION OF SCHELLING AND FICHTE 

The two philosophies, stripped of their errors, were shown in 
I legel's essay to supplement each other. Fichte recognized that the 
Ego has ascendancy over Nature, that the Absolute has to be con- 
ceived as absolute Ego, not as absolute object; or, in other words, 
that the principle of subjectivity represents the synthesis of itself 
with that of objectivity. This Kantian inheritance, which Fichte 
failed to carry through to its ultimate conclusions, Hegel resolved 
to maintain. 

[25] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

In proclaiming an absolute principle that would unite the oppo- 
sites and reconcile Ego with Nature, or subjectivity with objectiv- 
ity, Schelling was nearer the truth than Fichte. But Schelling failed 
because he, like Spinoza, fell into the extreme of an absolute objec- 
tivity or an objective absolute in which the struggle of the Ego was 
completely eliminated for the sake of perfect rest and indifference. 
In his philosophic system of 1801, finished and published just as 
Hegel arrived on the scene, Schelling depicted absolute synthesis 
as an absolute identity in which all differences were absorbed by the 
One. The struggle dominating the system of Fichte was replaced by 
a quasi-aesthetic equilibrium. Schelling could propose this solution 
because he regarded the philosopher as a man privileged, like the 
poet, to discover the vision of cosmic beauty. 

Hegel was not tempted by this pseudo-aesthetic solution. He 
was independent enough to realize that the world is not so harmoni- 
ous as it appeared in Schelling's teaching. Schelling had appeased 
rather than reconciled the opponents. It is to the interest of reason, 
Hegel says in his essay, to unify objectivity and subjectivity. But 
this interest is not served by denying the opposition and the move- 
ment it entails. Life means both fight and peace, revolt and redemp- 
tion, cross and resurrection. If the absolute identity is alive, the 
opposites must be contained in it. "Diremption is one of the factors 
of life that composes itself by eternally opposing itself; and totality 
in its supreme vitality is possible only through a restoration out of 
supreme separation." 22 So far Fichte was right in maintaining the 
contrast between the absolute and the relative, the infinite and the 
finite, affirmation and negation, as elements within the Ego. Con- 
trast, Fichte insisted, is the inescapable condition of life. 

But Fichte concluded that life is by nature finite. The opposites 
break up the Ego only as long as we conceive the Ego as being finite 
and striving after perfection and unification. About the nature of 
the infinite Ego, apart from the life of the striving finite Ego, we 
know nothing. In this respect Fichte remained loyal to the Kantian 

22. Hegel's Werke, I, 174. 

[26] 



INTRODUCTION 

principle of self-restriction and criticism. The absolute Ego is be- 
yond even the loftiest speculation. 

Seeing the virtues and weaknesses of Fichte's and Schelling's 
philosophies, Hegel aimed at an amalgamation of the two. The 
essay of 1801 outlines this prodigious undertaking, and in many 
passages it also hints at Hegel's future system. Intuition has to join 
discursive reflection. It has to become reflective itself. The intellect 
has to transcend itself not by mere intuition but in a rational fash- 
ion, methodically, systematically. It must destroy its own destruc- 
tive separations. The victory of truth over reflective intellect can 
be achieved only as a resurrection. The way leads through the 
death of separation and returns to the life of primordial identity. 
Thus may opposition, within the highest unity, be healed by the 
intellect itself. 

In contrast to Schelling's esoteric Romanticism, Hegel believes 
as he did throughout his development that this solution agrees 
with the position of the common man. "Speculation .... under- 
stands common sense very well, while common sense cannot under- 
stand what speculation is doing." 23 Speculation articulates the feel- 
ing of an identity underlying all distinctions; this feeling is alive in 
common sense. "Speculation demands in its highest synthesis .... 
even the annihilation of the (reflective) consciousness itself. .... 
This night of mere reflection and calculating understanding is the 
noon of Life, and in it both (life and reflection) can meet." 24 

The self-annihilation of reflection has to be carried out by con- 
tradictions. "If one reflects merely on the formal element in specu- 
lation and clings to the synthesis of knowledge in a purely analytic 
form, then the antinomy, the self-canceling contradiction, is the 
highest formal expression of knowledge and of truth." 25 The logical 
conclusion attained here seems a far cry from the theological ap- 
proach of Hegel's former writings. But the emphasis on reason 
is foreshadowed in those early papers; and the missing link between 

23. Ibid., p. 184. 

24. Ibid., p. 188. 25. Ibid., pp. 192-93. 

[27] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Hegel the theologian and Hegel the logician is supplied by the 
pamphlet on The Difference between the Systems of Fichte and 
Schelling. 

IV. HEGEL'S FIRST SYSTEM 

Next to Hegel's early writings, the most informative document 
about his development is a manuscript probably written between 
the fall of 1801 and the fall of 1802 and unpublished during his life- 
time. Its first editors, Hans Ehrenberg and Herbert Link, gave it 
the title Hegel's First System. As Georg Lasson, the second editor, 
has pointed out, the system in this manuscript is not yet complete. 27 
The philosophy of mind is not included, and the philosophy of na- 
ture is fragmentary. Nevertheless, this is Hegel's first philosophic 
system; though fragmentary, it is the earliest plan of the building 
he was going to raise. 

The manuscript shows Hegel's first attempt to produce that 
"logical knowledge" which he had postulated in the essay on The 
Difference between the Systems of Fichte and Schelling. In the first 
two divisions he offers the preliminary form of his famous Logic. 
Since logic is the fundamental science in Hegel's system taking 
the place of what in other philosophies is called metaphysics and 
what Hegel himself in the first draft partly calls so the primitive 
form of this science may be expected to throw light on Hegel's in- 
tentions and his future development. Studying the draft, we find 
our expectations justified. 

Hegel carries through what he promised to do and what he had 
declared necessary in his book on Fichte and Schelling. Logic is a 
systematic triumph over the fundamental contradictions of meta- 
physical speculation. It is therefore a science of the basic principles 
not only of knowledge and thought but also of Being and Existence. 

26. "Nach den Handschriften der Kgl. Bibl. in Berlin im Auftragc dcr 
Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften," herausgegeben von Hans 
Ehrenberg und Herbert Link. Eingeleitet von H. Ehrenberg (Heidelberg: Carl 
Winter, 1915). 

27. Jenenser Logik, Mctaphysik und Naturalphilosophie. Aus dem Manuscript 
herausgegeben von Georg Lasson (Philos. Bibl., Bd. 58 [Leipzig, 1923]). This 
text is far better than that of the earlier edition. 

[28] 



INTRODUCTION 

How could life be comprised within a philosophical or conceptual 
system except at the cost of so analyzing it as to destroy its unity? 
Pondering on this problem, Hegel was confronted with the same 
problems as Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason the problem of the 
limits of logical knowledge and consequently of science and meta- 
physics. The title of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre suggested the same 
problem. Schelling had overrun the limits drawn by his predeces- 
sors and boldly declared that, though the Absolute cannot be known 
by reflection, it can be known by metaphysical vision. But Schel- 
ling* s Absolute excluded the variety and multiplicity of experience 
and reduced our empirical world to a lifeless abstractum in which 
the alleged fulness of vision did not appear. It was the "caput mor- 
tuum of abstraction" the dead concept already denounced by 
Hegel in his early writings. Curiously enough, in expounding his 
intuition, Schelling set forth his views in thin and purely rational- 
istic terms. Instead of insight and information, the reader of his 
Presentation of My System is put off with pseudo-mathematical sym- 
bols and pre-Kantian definitions pretending to express highest wis- 
dom, but actually veiling an empty concept of Identity. Intuition is 
claimed, but it does not work. What really works in that system is 
scholastic reflection and formalistic analysis. Knowledge is frus- 
trated before it is gained. 

Evidently Schelling had no "logical knowledge" whatever; he 
completely lacked any insight into the limits and nature of knowl- 
edge itself. This was the consequence of the primacy of natural 
philosophy and of the neglect of any science of logic. Hegel de- 
manded the methodical self-destruction of that intellect which was 
elevated in Schilling's system. Kant had started down the road in 
the right direction. Fichte had taken an important step farther. 
And now the last step is due. The problem of the limits of knowl- 
edge has to be solved radically by a science which would inquire in- 
to the nature of all principles and categories and show how rational- 
istic thinking is forced to transcend itself owing to the contradic- 
tions to which it inevitably leads. A science of this kind would 
show how the limits of thought can be made visible and transcended 

[29] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

at the same time, and would complete the work begun by the Cri- 
tique of Pure Reason. This science Hegel called "Logic." 

This Logic deviates from all former conceptions and schemes of 
logic: it moves. Thought is made mobile. Indeed, it is always mo- 
bile as long as it is living thought and not a dead classification of 
terms. A stable universal, a changeless definition, a fixed proposi- 
tion, can never grasp the truth. For truth is a living truth. The new 
Logic which penetrates into the innermost mystery of Life must be 
a living, fluid logic. How can we achieve this Logic, contravening 
as it does all accepted views of logical thought (although common 
sense has at all times agreed with it) ? How can reflection destroy 
itself? Or, rather, how can thought bring itself back to life from the 
death of abstraction and opposition? There is no ultimate truth in 
oppositions; this becomes evident by thinking them. To be sure, to 
think is to distinguish and to oppose, but it is also to unify and to 
synthesize. The elements of thought, however, should not be iso- 
lated from one another; they should rather themselves pass into 
each other. This is the fact in all living thinking. This should also 
be achieved in logical thinking. 

To anatomize the life of thought by dissecting it into elements 
called concepts, propositions, and inferences, as the traditional 
logic was wont to do, means to misinterpret the real process of 
thinking. This process is a living one because the living self actual- 
izes itself in it. A special effort is required to interpret truly this 
self-actualization. The elements of thought, the concepts, must be 
conceived not as isolable but as the acts which are constitutive of 
thinking as such. Or, rather, the thinking self must perceive in them 
its own activity. They are not objects, and the process is not an ob- 
jective one in the sense in which external things are objective. Tak- 
en as objects, they contradict each other. To conceive them means 
therefore to convert their objectivity into subjectivity, and that 
again means to convert every concept into its own opposite. This 
is the fundamental insight which enabled Hegel in the fall of 1801 
to begin working out the details of his Logic. 

The thinking self acts in positing itself. However, since (in the 

[30] 



INTRODUCTION 

case of "logical knowledge") the self is the subject as much as the 
object of its acts, it cannot posit itself (as object) without "negat- 
ing" itself (as subject) . To be its own object (and this means to be 
a subject) is to be its own contrast. To posit itself is to oppose itself 
to itself, and again to cancel this opposition, or to return from self- 
objectification to itself, as the subject. Fichte, in his Wissenschafts- 
lehre, had made a good start. But he had still conceived of the living 
activity of the self in terms of propositions. The acts of self-posit- 
ing and self-negating seem to fall apart in his system, as if they 
were two different acts. The living self is caught in the net of 
logic. The problem is to make logic so fluid and alive that the living 
self can think itself in it. 

Hegel's Logic undertakes to solve this problem. It is a logic of 
life, the logic he had been seeking ever since he had recognized life 
as the medium in which opposites both arise and dissolve, (a) It is 
a logic of spirit. The spirit is operative in its method. The intellect 
separates and objectifies, but spirit reunites and resubjectifies. The 
intellect, however, is not a second power, opposed to spirit. It is 
itself a phase or moment of spirit, for it is spirit which divides it- 
self and unifies itself, (b) The new Logic is also a logic of reason, 
for reason differs from the intellect or the understanding in being 
speculative, (c) And it is a logic of intuition, for intuition underlies 
the self as thinking and the self as thought; it is the power that unifies 
both. But, unlike the intuition of Schelling or Jacobi or Coleridge, 
this intuition is not merely opposed to understanding; it is also at 
one with it in the living movement of logic, (d) This logic, finally, 
is a logic not only of knowledge, of thought, of the living self, but 
also of Being, Existence, and Reality. The movement of thought 
can no longer be opposed to its objects, since these objects them- 
selves move in it. 

The objects of the logic are concepts. But these concepts are not 
what a psychological logic might mean by concepts, merely sub- 
jective ideas. They are form and content at the same time. They 
express the nature of things, and that nature is thought in them. 
The very meaning of the term "nature" points to the identity of 

[31] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

thing and concept, of content and form within the concept. The 
"nature" of a thing is something thought, but it also is something 
operative in the thing. It is, in other words, what Plato meant by 
Idea and what Aristotle meant by Eidos or Essence. Hegel renews, 
on the level of Kant and with his reflective insight, the ontology and 
metaphysics of Aristotle. 

All this is achieved in the first draft of the Logic. It is not surpris- 
ing that the language of this Logic is difficult and that much pene- 
trating study is required to comprehend Hegel's forceful phrases. 
This Logic is the outcome of hard and continuous labor, of all the 
inner struggles which the early writings and especially the essay 
on Fichte and Schelling reveal. It is the fulfilment of what the young 
Hegel had been groping for in his pantheism of love and his inter- 
pretation of the Eucharist. Although Hegel still separates logic and 
metaphysics in the traditional way, it is a speculative and meta- 
physical logic. 

This new Logic is of necessity as dialectical as the movement of 
thinking itself. "Dialectic" originally meant "conversation" or 
"dialogue," and Hegel's dialectic, like Plato's, might be called "the 
dialogue of mind with itself." Logic, like thinking, moves from 
opposites to opposites, posing, opposing, composing the contents of 
thought, transforming them into ever new concepts or categories. 
But it is by no means the mere application of a monotonous trick 
that could be learned and repeated. It is not the mere imposition of 
an ever recurring pattern. It may appear so in the mind of some his- 
torians who catalogue the living trend of thought; but in reality it is 
an ever changing, ever growing development. Hegel is nowhere 
pedantic in pressing concepts into a ready-made mold. The theme of 
thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, like the motif of a musical com- 
position, has many modulations and modifications. It is never "ap- 
plied"; it is itself only a poor and not even helpful abstraction of 
what is really going on in Hegel's logic. 

The first draft of the Logic shows all the main peculiarities of his 
mature work. But in detail it is yet undeveloped. Many parts of the 
so-called "greater" Logic are not yet present. The whole structure 

[321 



INTRODUCTION 

is simpler and is therefore in some respects only the more illuminat- 
ing. The principal difference between the first draft and the later 
system is the distinction between logic and metaphysics. What 
Hegel calls metaphysics in the draft of 1801 coincides to a certain 
extent with some chapters of his later Logic, but in part it contains 
discussions about subjects from the old rationalistic systems, about 
the Soul, the World, and the Supreme Being. Other chapters are 
akin to the principles of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre and deal with 
the theoretical Ego, the practical Ego, and the absolute Ego (which 
is called absolute Spirit, or Mind a departure from Fichte). It 
goes without saying that even the traditional themes are treated in 
an untraditional fashion. 

LOGOS AND MIND 

The duality of logic and metaphysics points to a limitation in 
Hegel's thinking. While in his mature system the tripartition of 
logic, philosophy of nature, and philosophy of mind (or spirit) is 
carried through, and the logic is completely united and identified 
with metaphysics, this tripartition is not yet achieved in 1801. Per- 
haps this is why Hegel did not finish his manuscript. The philoso- 
phy of nature is fragmentary, and the philosophy of mind does not 
exist at all. 

The term "mind" or "spirit" is much richer and deeper than the 
term "Ego" or "Consciousness." The difference between them 
marks the difference between Hegel and Fichte, between infinite 
subjectivity and finite subjectivity, between a system pre-eminent- 
ly theological and a system pre-eminently ethical. In his concept of 
Geist Hegel found the inseparable connection between mind and spir- 
it, between the human and the divine. This is the greatest of all his 
discoveries. The early writings, especially The Spirit of Christian- 
ity, tell the story of this discovery. Hegel is the founder of the phi- 
losophy of mind. In the system of 1801 the concept of mind is the 
crowning result of the logical development. If we disregard what 
we know about Hegel's religious experiences from his early theo- 
logical studies, we may describe the position now reached as the 

[33] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

result of a mere amalgamation. His idea of mind unites Fichte' s 
Absolute Ego with Schelling's Absolute as the Identity of objec- 
tivity and subjectivity, of Ego and Nature. 

The origin of this new metaphysics of mind is recognizable in the 
draft of 1801. By blending the principles of Fichte and Schelling, 
Hegel was able to transform Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre into his 
metaphysical logic, that is to say, into a logic which concerns not 
only the categories and principles of human knowledge but the 
forms and categories of Being itself. By this fusion, logic becomes 
metaphysical metaphysical because ontological as well as cpiste- 
mological (and ethical) . Hegel's failure to discard the separation of 
logic and metaphysic completely may show that he did not yet 
realize the full implications of the synthesis. 

The opposition of Knowledge and Being, or Thought and Real- 
ity, lies at the bottom of the opposition of subjectivity and objec- 
tivity. The latter terms were derived from Kant's and Fichte's 
epistemological and ethical approach to philosophy; the former has 
been the traditional terms of metaphysics since the days of Eleatic 
speculation. It is the glory of Hegel's philosophy that he resumed 
the ancient tradition without relasping into its errors and illusions : 
he reconciled the old truth with the new, Greek methods with the 
idealism of Kant and Fichte. 

The fusion of Fichte and Schelling, on the one hand, of German 
and Greek thought, on the other, is not completed in the draft. This 
is what makes its study so illuminating. Glancing into the labora- 
tory where Hegel's ideas are developing, one sees that the first 
system is like the early stage of an embryological process. The fu- 
ture organs and joints are about to be formed; the future structure 
of the organism is visible but as through a film. Certain elements in 
the embryological evolution of an organism, reminiscent of earlier 
stages in the genealogy of the species, vanish in the course of de- 
velopment. Similarly, traces of Fichte and Schelling, still notice- 
able in the earlier draft, disappear later through assimilation into 
the mature system. 

[34] 



INTRODUCTION 

ABSOLUTE MIND 

The logic of 1801 culminates in a chapter on the Absolute Mind. 
In it the theoretical Ego and the practical Ego are unified, or rather 
unify themselves, for it is the Absolute Mind which from the out- 
set is acting through them: they are nothing but abstract and de- 
pendent "organs" of the mind, or, as Hegel prefers to say, they are 
"moments' ' in the dialectical movement. Mind is the unknown fac- 
tor of Kant's theory of knowledge; it is the "thing-in-itself," which 
is no thing at all, but the living ground of all existence. "This idea 
of the Thing-in-Itself realizes itself in metaphysics in that there 
knowing becomes its own content." 28 "The theoretical Ego finds 
itself as the Supreme Being It finds its own opposite there- 
fore as itself or in itself." It closes the "circle of reflection," "it is 
mind, i.e., it is reasonable." 29 

At the conclusion of his chapter on the Absolute Mind, Hegel 
introduces an important distinction. He contrasts the Absolute 
Mind in its reality and the Idea of the Absolute Mind; in other 
words, he declares that the logic even in its metaphysical part is 
not yet the completion of thought and speculation, that the funda- 
mental opposition is not yet entirely overcome, that the final recon- 
ciliation cannot be brought about altogether by logic and meta- 
physics. "The mind as it is made manifest so far is only Idea." 30 
To actualize itself, to work out the basic identity of Idea and real- 
ity, mind has to wander through the sphere of Nature as its great 
opponent, its own "nothing"; it has to find its own essence in its 
opposite (philosophy of nature), and it has to return to itself, to the 
Idea, to Logic (philosophy of mind) . Logic and metaphysics unfold 
absolute mind only in the form of its ideality and in its categories, 
not yet in its concrete historical reality. 

In the system of 1801 Hegel does not describe this transition 
from logic to the philosophy of nature in the well-known fashion of 

28. Ibid., p. 175. 

29. Ibid., pp. 178-79. 30. Ibid., p. 185. 

[35] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

the "great logic/' 81 i.e., as an act by which the Absolute Idea "re. 
solves to dismiss itself deliberately out of itself." Here he designates 
this intricate transition as a "falling-off." It seems as if the biblical 
idea of the Fall of Man was preponderant in his thought, as it was in 
Origen and, some years after Hegel had written his draft, also in 
Schelling. 32 Hegel points eventually to the consummation of the 
movement of the mind. The mind must return from its apostasy as 
"victor over itself." "This totality of the return exists in itself and 
does not pass over into another There is no longer any tran- 
sition into a beyond," 33 

FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE 

The number of papers Hegel found time to write during his early 
years at Jena is astounding. In 1801 besides the essay on Fichte 
and Schelling, the dissertation on the orbits of the planets, and the 
fragmentary draft of his first philosophic system he also wrote, 
or at least began, an essay on the relation between faith and knowl- 
edge; 34 in 1802 he wrote an essay on natural law. 35 These were 
both published in the Critical Journal of Philosophy, the first in 1802, 
the second in 1802/3. Since Hegel did not lecture on the philosophy 
of mind before the winter of 1803/4, the two essays represent his 
earliest exposition of this part of his philosophy. 

The essay on "Faith and Knowledge" deals with the basic meta- 
physical problems in so far as they concern the relation between 
religion and philosophy. Ever since his adolescence, Hegel had been 
involved in a struggle between faith and knowledge. The ultimate 
decisions in philosophy, he thought, depend upon the answer to the 
question of how far the truths of faith can be grasped with the in- 
tellect. At first a student of theology planning to become a minister 

31. "Great logic" refers to Hegel's Science of Logic (1813-16) as distin- 
guished from the "small logic," which forms the first part of the Encyclopedia. 

32. See my Von Kant bis Hegel, II, 228. 

33. Jenenser Logik, p. 186. 

34. Glauben und Wissen ("Faith and Knowledge"). 

35. tJber die ivissenschaftlichen Behandlungsarten des Naturrechts ("On the 
Scientific Methods of Studying Natural Law"). 

[36] 



INTRODUCTION 

of the church, he had instead become a lecturer in metaphysics at a 
university. The issue was as much a problem of his own life, as it 
was one of philosophy. No wonder that the tenor of his essay has a 
somewhat personal note. Although Hegel never writes personally 
about "his" philosophy as Schelling did when he called one of his 
books The Presentation of My System of Philosophy the reader is 
made to feel how intimately the author is concerned. 

"The contrast between faith and reason is in our time a contrast 
within philosophy itself." 36 Is any knowledge of things-in-them- 
selves possible? This question is not confined to epistemology. If it 
is possible to know things as they are in themselves, then we must 
know them as God knows them. 

Because Kant saw the connection between the theory of knowl- 
edge and the knowledge of God, he denied all knowledge of things 
as they are in themselves. This philosophic decision, Hegel says, 
and the method of reflective subjectivity which it entailed, are 
fruits on the tree of Protestantism. The reformers made an end to 
the confident rationalism of the Scholastics. They cut the bond of 
amity between knowledge and faith, between human intellect and 
divine revelation, between the temporal and the eternal. By denying 
philosophy the power of penetrating into the essence of things, Kant 
and his disciples gave their blessing to this separation. 

But there is also a peril in the Protestant principle. By cutting the 
link between the two spheres, it runs the risk of denying the pos- 
sibility of reforming the world and shaping things temporal. It may 
sublimate and spiritualize faith to such a degree as to make it in- 
effective in our daily life. The task of binding together the two 
spheres remains. If religion does not fulfil this task, reason will do 
it. The movement called "Enlightenment" had the merit of sub- 
stituting for the medieval synthesis of opposites a rational, human- 
istic, secular unity by insisting that happiness is the goal of both 
reason and life. But Enlightenment failed because it interpreted 
happiness in secular terms only. "When happiness is conceived of 
as Idea, it ceases to be something empirical and accidental 

36. Hegel's Wcrkc, I, 3. 

[37] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Every philosophy is nothing but the supreme felicity construed as 
Idea." 87 

"The beautiful subjectivity of Protestantism is transformed by 
Enlightenment into an empirical subjectivity, and the poetry of its 
grief .... into the prose of a satisfaction with this finite world/' 38 
This basic defect is not completely remedied by either Kant or 
Fichte. On the contrary, although recognizing the shallowness of 
Enlightenment, they have not succeeded in rising above it. Their 
philosophy is engaged in investigating man instead of God. "Man 
and mankind are their absolute principles, namely, a fixed and in- 
surmountable finitude of reason, rather than a reflected splendor of 
eternal beauty." 39 

In a fragment probably written about the same time as his essay 
on "Faith and Knowledge" but never published by Hegel, he speaks 
even more frankly about the part philosophy has to play in admin- 
istering the inheritance of Protestantism and Enlightenment. Philos- 
ophy, he says, has to establish "a new religion in which the infinite 
grief and the whole gravity of its discord is acknowledged, but is at 

the same time serenely and purely dissolved To embrace the 

whole energy of the suffering and discord that has controlled the 
world and all forms of its culture for some thousand years, and also 
to rise above it this can be done by philosophy alone." 40 

The doubts and hesitation which characterized the fragment of 
1800 are now completely superseded by an exalted confidence in the 
power of speculation. Philosophy is no longer assigned a place be- 
low religion; on the contrary, it is destined to replace religion, com- 
pleting the development initiated by the Reformation. Philosophy 
is called upon to do what faith alone can never achieve : the absolute 
reconciliation of absolute opposites. Speculation must comprehend 
"the absolute suffering." Only thus can "the supreme totality rise 
in all its seriousness and out of its deepest ground .... into the 
joyous freedom of its true form." 41 (In speaking of "infinite grief" 

37. Ibid., p. 8. 

38. Ibid., p. 10. 40. Rosenkranz, Hegcls Lcbcn, p. 141. 

39. Ibid., p. 15. 41. Hegel's Wcrkc, I, 157. 

[38] 



INTRODUCTION 

and "absolute suffering/' Hegel has in mind the Crucifixion, the 
supreme example of contradiction and opposition.) 

Whether Hegel was prompted to take this extreme position by 
his own religious and philosophic impulses, whether he was en- 
couraged by the example of Schelling, whether he was stimulated 
by the fact that he now had the literary world as his audience, or 
whether his genius carried him away after so many careful self- 
restrictions, we shall never know. But we do know that this was a 
determining period in his life. It settled once and for all the relation 
between faith and speculation in Hegel's mind. 

NATURAL LAW 

The essay on "Natural Law" is among Hegel's most interesting 
writings. The title is misleading, because the real subject concerns 
the central issue of the philosophy of mind the relation between 
reason and history, or the historicity of rational ideas, especially of 
those which dominate moral and civil life. Here, as much as in the 
realm of religion, Hegel had been at home since his youth. The rela- 
tions between legality and morality, between history and rational- 
ity, had long occupied Hegel's attention a fact made clear by his 
theological and political writings. But the emphasis upon the idea of 
natural law is new. 

The science of jurisprudence, Hegel states, has been treated in a 
double way, empirically and rationally, or historically and system- 
atically. Kant and Fichte had shown that all positive legislation 
is ruled by universal principles and that their validity is neither 
established by empirical science nor rooted in changing historical 
situations. These principles are a priori and are based upon reason 
itself. This thesis, Hegel insists, true though it is, needs to be sup- 
plemented. The share of reason in positive law is limited; it is in- 
dispensable as a formal constituent, but it does not guarantee the 
legitimacy of a positive law. And all laws are positive. A law, be it 
juridical or moral, is always both historical and rational. 

Empiricism has therefore a certain truth, but empirical theories 
in their usual form are not equal to the task at hand. They are not 

[39] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

truly empirical but rather rational in an uncritical fashion. They 
lack unity and system, on the one hand, and genuine historical foun- 
dations, on the other. They represent a muddled fusion between ex- 
tremes. Ideas like the right of the strongest, the state of nature, the 
social impulse, or the social contract are as rationalistic as a priori 
principles are, but they are arbitrary and unsystematic. This con- 
fusion betrays a dim awareness of an original unity underlying the 
duality of empirical and rational elements. But this is not enough. 
Such awareness has to be replaced by dialectical philosophic knowl- 
edge, for dialectic alone can cope with the unity in diversity and the 
diversity in unity. 

The formalism of Kant and Fichte is therefore as little satisfac- 
tory as the empiricism of the English thinkers. "Empiricism pre- 
sents the detailed content confusedly and in connection with other 
details which in their essential reality form a whole that is organic 
and alive; and this whole is killed by dissection and by empiricism's 
elevation of unessential and isolated abstractions to the rank of 
ultimacy." 42 Moral formalism offers no remedy, because it, too, 
dissects life without resuscitating it by a living dialectic. "The ideal 
does not come to terms with reality .... the real remains abso- 
lutely opposed." 43 The truth is that historical and rational nature arc 
in substance one. Therefore Kant's principle, in spite of its sublim- 
ity, cannot be ultimate. "It is out of the question to deny the posi- 
tion of Kant; but it has to be maintained that this position is not 
absolute .... and that, since morality is something absolute, that 
position cannot be the position of morality." 44 What Hegel wrote 
in his essay on The Spirit of Christianity reappears here in a more 
mature form. The same arguments against the formalism of Kant 
are repeated in a more philosophic and radical fashion. 

Hegel also renews the old ideas of folk religion which in his 
youth competed with the universality of moral principles and the 
Christian religion. The ideal of an intimate bond between moral 
reason and the life of a nation continues. In the third chapter of the 

42. Ibid., p. 342. 

43. Ibid., pp. 345-46. 44. Ibid., pp. 348-49. 

[40] 



INTRODUCTION 

essay on "Natural Law," where Hegel develops the true method of 
the unification of empiricism and rationalism, he writes: "The ab- 
solute moral totality is nothing else than a people." 48 The Hellenic 
Ideal once more comes to the fore. Throughout his life Hegel paid 
homage to the ethical loftiness of the Oresteia of Aeschylus, the 
drama in which Athene, representing at the same time the nation 
and the idea of law and right, resolves the tragic conflict and recon- 
ciles the moral opposites. "Moral totalities, such as peoples are, 

constitute themselves as individuals This individuality is the 

side of reality, without this .... they are only entia rationis (Ge- 
dankendinge)." 

The primal unity of reality and ideality, of nature and morality, 
manifests itself as the totality of a people. In it are rooted morality 
and legality. They do not spring from a separately existing reason 
or from separately existing desires or interests, but are manifesta- 
tions of the totality of life and ultimately of the Absolute Mind in 
which everything has its source. The distinctions of Kant and Fich- 
te, though they lack ultimate truth, have a relative existence and 
validity. "Cleavage is one of the factors of life." 47 The difference 
between morality and legality (between the subjective and the ob- 
jective element within the objective spirit, as the Encyclopedia and 
the Philosophy of Right formulate this difference) is strongly em- 
phasized in all writings of Hegel. 

In the essay on "Natural Law" Hegel calls the sphere of Right 
"relative morality." Life, torn asunder, is differentiated, or rather 
it differentiates itself. It is as much absolute as relative, as much 
universal as particular. This is the fundamental insight. Only be- 
cause Life is divided against itself, can it integrate itself. Morality 
and Legality are ways of this self-integration, but they are them- 
selves separated from each other and must therefore integrate them- 
selves. They do not yet represent the ultimate stage of moral real- 
ity. This reality exists as the totality of a people, as its will and 
its self-organization in the state. But even the state is not yet the 

45. Ibid., p. 372. 46. Loc. cit. 

47. Hegel's Werte, I, 174. 

[41] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

fulfilment of the self-development of the mind. It is the result of the 
dialectical movement of morality. This movement transcends the 
sphere of the objective mind and enters the ultimate sphere of ab- 
solute mind. The essay of 1802, however, does not yet shed full 
light on these divisions of Hegel's later philosophy. 

The influence of Schelling's philosophy of nature is evident in 
Hegel's discussion, here and also in the manuscripts of the follow- 
ing years. "As in the nature of the polyp the totality of life is as 
much present as in the nature of the nightingale and the lion, so the 
mind of the world enjoys in every figure its more or less developed 
self-feeling and in every people, in every totality of morals and 
laws its own essence and itself." 48 

Peoples are the manifestations of the Absolute Mind; but they 
themselves, as mere manifestations, are not absolute but relative. 
This difference is reflected in the difference of classes. Obviously 
influenced by Greek traditions, Hegel distinguishes two main 
classes: the free man or the "individual of absolute morality," and 
the masses, who represent the "bodily and mortal soul of a people 
and its empirical consciousness." 49 The upper class embodies "the 
absolute living mind," "the absolute indifference of the ideality and 
the reality of morality." It stands for the Absolute within the rela- 
tive reality of historical peoples. While the individuals of the lower 
class are related to those of the upper class "by fear, confidence, 
and obedience," the perfect unification of the two classes is reserved 
to religion, where all serve one God in common. 

The connection between these ideas and those in the essay on 
"Faith and Knowledge" and in the draft of 1801 is not quite clear, 
perhaps not even in Hegel's own mind. This may be one reason 
why the first statement of his philosophy remained fragmentary. 
During the following years Hegel developed his system in new 
drafts, probably along the lines of the lectures he was giving 
simultaneously at the university. His modifications affect not the 
Logic but the so-called "Realphilosophie" which comprises both the 

48. Ibid., p. 415; see also my Von Kant bis Hegel, II, 218-54. 

49. Hegel's Werke, I, 391. 

[42] 



INTRODUCTION 

philosophy of nature and the philosophy of mind. His lectures of 
that period also dealt with ideas to be developed in The Phenomenol- 
ogy of Mind. 

V. ROMANTICISM MADE RATIONAL 

In 1806, when Hegel left Jena after Napoleon's victory over the 
Prussians, his personal relations with the Romanticists ended. 
Thenceforward his attitude toward life was determined by the 
gravity of the events which followed the defeat of Prussia, and his 
thinking reflected the transition from the revolutionary to the re- 
actionary era in the political history of Europe. 

The Phenomenology of Mind marks the end of the Jena period. 
This is without doubt one of the strangest books ever written, and 
the unprepared reader will find it thoroughly confusing. In his His- 
tory of Modern Philosophy Wilhelm Windelband says that the gen- 
eration able to understand the Phenomenology has died out. While 
this was certainly true, much has been done during the past few 
decades to regain an understanding of Hegel and make his language 
intelligible. Even so, many obscure passages remain open to various 
interpretations. 

The work claims to be rational, but it shows every evidence of 
having been written under inspiration. In fact, it unites extremes 
seldom or never before united. It is vehemently anti-Romantic, yet 
it is undoubtedly the most Romantic of all Hegel's writings. Pas- 
sages resembling the oracular words of Hamann, "the magician of 
the north," are at variance with the intentions of a thinker who de- 
clares that "cold necessity in the subject matter," not "ecstasy," 
is guiding the progress of his thought; and who rejects those who 
seek edification instead of insight, intuition instead of knowledge. 
Methodical and sometimes tedious pedantry contrasts strikingly 
with a highly metaphorical style. Moreover, the very idea of this 
new science is somewhat Romantic, as the following account will 
show. 

The ideas in Hegel's earlier writings reappear in, or between, 
the lines of this work. Hardly any new speculations are added to 

[43] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

those we have already traced in the development of his thought. 
But many ideas are now clarified, others are intensified and en- 
larged. The book contains the main traits of Hegel's system or- 
dered and presented according to a particular plan, and infinitely 
more comprehensive than anything he had written before. All 
philosophic problems are discussed, all philosophic sciences are 
gathered together as in a pantheon of ideas. Arguments and conclu- 
sions are drawn up before our eyes in endless array. The Phenome- 
nology may be called a modern itinerariwn mentis ad Deum, "the 
journey of the mind to God." The knowledge of God, or the Ab- 
solute, is the final goal of this voyage. 

Whatever Hegel may say, it is doubtful whether reason alone is 
the pilot steering him through the sea of meditation. Reason, to 
Hegel, was not the reverse of intuition, but an inspired understand- 
ing, a unique combination of revelation and speculation. This pilot's 
skill seems neither teachable nor imitable. 

The reader often feels completely lost. Clouds of contradiction 
and dialectic obscure the course, and he does not know which way 
to go. He may well guess that a passage refers to certain facts of 
history or of literature, but to what facts he is at a loss to discover. 
At times long, dry discussions are suddenly interrupted by stormy 
outbreaks which defy understanding. At times everything is clear, 
and the reader enjoys the splendor of truth shedding light on human 
perplexities; but again the sky clouds over, and everything is lost 
in the darkness of obscurity. 

Hegel himself called the Phenomenology his 'Voyage of discov- 
ery" and this it may be, in its details. But in principles and method 
Hegel is no longer the seeker. He is now a seer, surveying the 
spirit of nations and cultures, of creeds and doctrines. But though 
he aims at universal and all-comprehensive knowledge, he concen- 
trates at will on particular periods and particular opinions. What- 
ever is the same throughout all the vicissitudes of history, and 
whatever is never the same but changes continually, grows, and 
transforms itself from century to century in ever new configura- 
tions all is collected and united in one prodigious panorama. 

[44] 



INTRODUCTION 

The Phenomenology is the epic of the human mind, the adventur- 
ous story of human errors and human illusions. It is also the life of 
eternal and divine truth. Hegel seems to be familiar with all the 
recesses of the human conscience as well as with the ultimate per- 
spectives of all sciences. He watches the ever changing spectacle 
of human tragedy and human comedy. The very soul seems to lie 
open to the penetrating glance of this speculative magician, high 
priest of the Absolute. "Truth," we read, u is the bacchanalian revel, 
where not a soul is sober; and because every member no sooner 
gets detached than it eo if so collapses straightway, the revel is just 
as much a state of transparent unbroken calm/' 50 

In the Preface to the Phenomenology Hegel explains the purpose 
of his work. First of all, it is intended as an introduction to his 
philosophy, preparing the way for the metaphysics he had found it 
so difficult to teach at Jena. Everyone has the right, we read in the 
Preface, to demand that philosophy can be understood; after all, 
philosophy is a science, not an oracle. It consists of concepts, not 
of "apocalyptic utterances." "Intelligibility is the form in which 
science is offered to everyone, and is the open road to it made plain 
for all. To reach rational knowledge by our intelligence is the just 
demand of the mind which comes to science." 51 Although the Phe- 
nomenology is supposed to clarify Hegel's Philosophy, no book is 
less suited to a beginner. No book demands greater power of con- 
centration and abstraction, more learning and philosophic training, 
deeper wisdom or richer spiritual experience. 

SPECULATION AND HISTORY 

Another purpose of the book is the reconciliation of the individ- 
ual and mankind. Within the short span of his own life an individual 
must learn the whole long journey of mankind. This is possible only 
because the universal mind is operative in every individual mind and 
is the very substance of it. "What in former days occupied the en- 
ergies of a man of mature mental ability, sinks to the level of infor- 

50. J. B. Baillie's translation (2d ed., London, 1931), p. 105. 

51. Ibid., pp. 74, 76-77. 

[45] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mation .... in this educational progress we can see the history of 
the world's civilization delineated in faint outline." 62 Therefore, it 
must be possible to conceive the development of the mind as a series 
of steps taken in order to reach its goal. 

The Phenomenology tries to understand the necessity governing 
the sequence of these steps. History as an empirical science only 
narrates what happened and how the events are connected accord- 
ing to the principle of causality and does not disclose the inner co- 
herence of those events determined by the ultimate purpose of the 
mind. The study of this coherence, while presupposing an empirical 
knowledge of facts, is not causal but teleological and therefore 
speculative. 

Later, in the Encyclopedia, Hegel determines the locus of history 
as the transition from the objective mind, incarnate in the state, to 
the absolute mind, embodied in art, religion, and philosophy. In 
his lectures on the philosophy of history he surveys the whole 
course of universal history. The task undertaken in the Phenomenol- 
ogy is a different one. Here Hegel uses historic figures and events 
to illustrate the principal steps in the mind of attaining knowledge 
of itself. Not the past, but the present, is his concern. 

The "present," however, is an ambiguous term, denoting what is 
only now and what is ever now. There is an evanescent present and 
an eternal present; and the peculiar achievement of Hegel's book 
is their union. The Phenomenology finds the eternal within the pres- 
ent. By reconciling the extremes of time and eternity, it lets exist- 
ence and essence coincide and thus gives fresh speculative meaning 
to the idea of existence. Not Kierkegaard, but his great master, 
Hegel, was the inaugurator of existential philosophy. 

It is the emphatically expressed thesis of this work that only the 
existential thinker can think the truth. Therefore, Hegel undertook 
the immense task of showing the inner unity of past and present. 
There is really present only so much of the past as was eternal in 
the past and therefore capable of going on living. "The goal, which 
is Absolute Knowledge of Spirit knowing itself as Spirit, finds its 

52. Ibid., pp. 89-90. 

[46] 



INTRODUCTION 

pathway in the recollection of spiritual forms as they are in them- 
selves and as they accomplish the organization of their spiritual 
kingdom. Their conservation, looked at from the side of their free 
phenomenal existence in the sphere of contingency is History; 
looked at from the side of their conceptually comprehended organi- 
zation, it is the Science of phenomenal knowledge." 53 

The "pathway" of Absolute Knowledge is also the pathway of 
the "natural consciousness" which is the object of the Phenomenol- 
ogy. This consciousness moves toward the goal of Absolute Knowl- 
edge where it is at one with the Absolute Mind. It has to move on, 
because in the beginning on the most primitive level of mere sen- 
sation it is separated from the Absolute Mind and therefore self- 
alienated and divided against itself. This separation is the spur that 
impels it to labor until the inner breach is healed and the unity be- 
tween natural and spiritual consciousness is achieved. As long as 
consciousness has not yet reached this goal, it is "unhappy." 

"The pathway of the soul which is traversing the series of its 
own forms of embodiment .... has a negative significance . . . . ; 
for on this road it loses its own truth (namely, the truth of the nat- 
ural consciousness). Because of that, the road can be looked on as 
the path of doubt, or more properly a highway of despair" The 
Phenomenology of Mind, pursuing this pathway of despair, leads to 
the point of salvation. It is the story of inner struggles which finally 
reach the stage of Christian experience and dogma. It is through 
speculative salvation that the tragic discord of the soul is removed. 
Accordingly, the book is called the "Science of the Experience of 
Consciousness," 55 "a science of the experience through which con- 
sciousness passes." 66 Its significance is not primarily historical but 
rather philosophic and religious. Hegel is concerned not with 
events but with their meaning and their contribution to the solution 
of the problem called "Man." 

The Phenomenology is the autobiography of man as the image of 
God. Man is God's image because of the divine purpose operative 

53. Ibid., p. 808. 55. Ibid., p. 144. 

54. Ibid., p. 135. (My italics.) 56. Ibid., p. 96. 

[47] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

in him. Just as biblical history serves purposes other than historic- 
graphical information, so its speculative counterpart has a religious 
(i.e., spiritual and redemptive) aim. The Phenomenology issues 
in a profound reinterpretation of the Christian dogma. 

PROLETARIAN PATTERN 

Man's consciousness, though split into that of the world and that 
of himself, is essentially one. Man has oneness as well as duality. 
Unable rationally to conceive of the oneness of world and man, he 
nevertheless feels it darkly and unconsciously. The Phenomenol- 
ogy develops this feeling into knowledge. 

Consciousness becomes aware of itself and thus transforms itself 
into self-consciousness. "With self-consciousness .... we have 
now passed into the native land of truth, into that kingdom where it 
is at home." 57 Self-consciousness passes through many stages of ex- 
perience. It begins as the consciousness of impulse, instinct, and de- 
sire, and it culminates in the awareness of the "I" as related to a 
"thou." For it "attains its satisfaction only in another self-con- 
sciousness." 58 Consciousness is satisfied with nothing short of the 
knowledge that the self is at one first with every other self and ulti- 
mately with the absolute Self. 

Self-consciousness exists only by virtue of existing for another 
self-consciousness. It is only by being acknowledged or "recog- 
nized." 69 Recognition of, and respect for, another individual is the 
condition of an individual's moral existence, and it is also the first 
step toward the removal of the duality or plurality of persons. Ac- 
cord, however, is preceded by the antagonism between man and 
man a life-and-death struggle. Its outcome is not, as Hobbes 
would have it, a covenant but the subjugation of the weaker party 
by the stronger opponent. 

In primitive society one man is the master and others are his 
serfs. This master-serf relation corresponds to the natural self-con- 

57. Ibid., p. 219. 

58. Ibid., p. 226. 59. Ibid., p. 229. 

[48] 



INTRODUCTION 

sciousness in which desire and impulse prevail. The overlord, using 
his bondsman to satisfy his desires, achieves more than the quench- 
ing of his thirst or the staying of his hunger. He gains ascendancy 
over the other man. The satisfaction derived from spiritual power 
over another self is the first step toward salvation. 

"The master exists only for himself .... his is .... the essen- 
tial action .... while the bondsman's is .... an unessential ac- 
tivity." 60 But this is not the whole truth. The satisfaction of the 
overlord depends on the labor of his serf and on the serfs will. He 
loses his absolute independence, while the bondsman, in his turn, 
attains a certain ascendancy over his master. The inequality dimin- 
ishes. It transforms itself by logical necessity into interdependence 
and, consequently, into a mutual recognition and respect. Not only 
the lord, but also the bondsman, rises to a spiritual position. Both 
pass beyond the merely natural self-consciousness. The self-con- 
sciousness of the subordinate is not condemned to total disintegra- 
tion. "In serving and toiling, the bondsman actually .... cancels 
in every moment his dependence on, and attachment to, natural ex- 
istence, and by his work removes this existence away." 61 

"Albeit the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, con- 
sciousness is not therein aware of being self-existence. Through 
work and labor, however, this consciousness of the bondsman comes 
to itself." 62 The bondsman appears in his own eyes as an independ- 
ent person, conscious of his moral freedom and dignity. This is 
achieved because another fear looms behind the fear of the lord 
the fear of death. Death is the "absolute master" of man. Man sur- 
renders to the other man only on account of his fear of death. Self- 
respect can defeat this fear. 

"In fashioning the thing, self-existence comes to be felt explicitly 
as its own proper being, and it attains the consciousness that itself 

exists in its own right and on its own account Thus precisely 

in labor where there seemed to be merely some outsider's mind and 
ideas involved, the bondsman becomes aware, through his redis- 

60. Ibid., p. 236. 

61. Ibid., p. 238. 62. Ibid. 

[49] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

covery of himself by himself, of having and being a 'mind of his 
own/ " 63 

Perhaps young Marx, reading this, found the germ of his future 
program. In any case, foreshadowed in these words is the pattern 
for a labor movement which was to make the proletarian conscious 
of his existence and to grant him the knowledge of having a "mind 
of his own." 

THE UNHAPPY CONSCIOUSNESS 

In the historico-metaphysical procession of the Phenomenology, 
a prominent place is given to the Crusades and medieval Christen- 
dom as typifying one stage in the progress of consciousness to self- 
knowledge. Consciousness is divided against itself. The pathway of 
the soul is a martyr's way. Man, unredeemed and unreconciled to 
the eternal mind, is desperate. Tragedy is a metaphysical category, 
not just a dramatic way of representing life. Mind is by nature 
tragic because it is opposed to itself and, being its own opposite, is 
also its own opponent. There is a perpetual fight of mind against 
mind, within the self as well as between self and self, and even be- 
tween the human and the divine spirit. 

Hegel calls this contrast, as it appears in the medieval conscious- 
ness, the antagonism between the Unchangeable and the Change- 
able. The Unchangeable, in Hegel's language, is indistinguishable 
from "the Unchangeable One." Changeable man yearns for God 
the Unchangeable. Although he feels God in his heart, he knows 
him as his opposite. Thinking is here "no more than the passing 
clang of ringing bells, or a cloud of warm incense, a kind of think- 
ing in terms of music Hence we have there the inward move- 
ment of pure emotion .... of an infinite yearning." 64 But the 
Absolute Being (in this connection Hegel also calls it the "Other") 
"cannot be found where it is sought; for it is meant to be just 'be- 
yond.' .... Consciousness, therefore, can come only upon the 
grave of its own life But the presence even of that tomb is 

63. Ibid., p. 239. 64. Ibid., p- 257. 

[50] 



INTRODUCTION 

merely the source of trouble, toil, and struggle, a fight which must 
be lost." 65 

The crusaders sought the Divine and discovered a tomb. To dis- 
close itself to consciousness, the Immutable must "nullify the certi- 
fication of its own being." 66 As the bondsman must be enslaved to 
the lord in order to gain his moral freedom and dignity, so the 
medieval Christian has to submit to the Supreme Will in order to 
gain his religious freedom. However, this deliverance is not the 
immediate fruit of asceticism. 

The cleavage between natural and spiritual consciousness cannot 
be healed by ascetic exercises. The ascetic is more conscious of his 
animal nature than natural man because he is constantly engaged in 
suppressing it. "We have here before us a personality confined 
within its narrow self and petty activity, brooding over itself, as 
unfortunate as it is pitiably destitute." 67 

The mortification of the flesh does not achieve the harmony 
longed for. The chasm perseveres. But through ascetic practices a 
new level of spiritual life is finally reached. Man has learned to 
sacrifice his vital self. He "disclaims all power of independent self- 
existence, and ascribes this power to a gift from above." 68 Thus he 
"puts off his unhappy condition." The reconciliation between God 
and man is initiated, though not yet accomplished. The right balance 
is still missing. Man's "own concrete action remains something 
miserable and insignificant, his enjoyment pain, and the sublation 
of these, positively considered, remains a mere 'beyond.' " 69 

REASON AND REVELATION 

Hegel divides religions into three groups : natural, aesthetic, and 
revealed religions. These three kinds of religion correspond to 
three kinds of worship. Natural religion reveres God in natural 
objects. Aesthetic religion makes man, transfigured by poetic 
imagination, the object of worship. Revealed religion rises to the 

65. Ibid., p. 258. 

66. Ibid., p. 259. 68. Ibid., p. 266. 

67. Ibid., p. 264. 69. Ibid., pp. 266-67. 

[51] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

level of the Absolute Spirit. In the idea of Christ revelation attains 
its summit. This idea conjoins absolute and individual spirit, the 
eternal and the temporal, the divine and the human. "That the Su- 
preme Being is seen, heard, etc., as an existent self-consciousness 
this is in very truth, the culmination and consummation of its con- 
cept." 70 

Natural and Greek religion raise the consciousness (of the 
world) and the self-consciousness (of man) to the level of the ab- 
solute spirit, but revealed religion alone reveals this spirit in its full 
truth. 

Even while Hegel's philhellenism was at its height, his 
speculation was imbued with the "spirit of Christianity." His chief 
thesis, that the Absolute is Life, was the expression of his Christian 
creed, the speculative form of the belief in the Living God and the 
Living Christ. Life meant to him the spiritual activity of mind and 
thought rather than a biological process. 

God is Life. Christ is Life. Creation and Providence, Revelation 
and Redemption, are acts of the Living God and the Living Christ. 
This view is the very foundation of Hegel's system. From the early 
days of his spiritual awakening Hegel was convinced that specula- 
tion at best can reach the truth of revealed religion but never tran- 
scend it. Philosophy and religion, he protests over and over again, 
are twins ; though different in form, they have the same content. The 
form of religion is "presentational"; the form of philosophy, con- 
ceptual. The language of revelation is pictorial; that of speculation, 
rational. But Hegel's own language is often pictorial, especially in 
the Phenomenology, and the distinction between the two forms al- 
most vanishes in dogma and theology, where the language of reli- 
gion transforms itself into that of reason. 

Speculative interpretation of dogma emphasizes the kinship of 
philosophy and religion. Divine Life, like life generally, implies 
self-alienation and self-reconciliation. Only he who loses himself 
can save himself this saying might be regarded as the motto of 
Hegel's speculation. Only he who dies can rise. Only he who de- 

70. Ibid., p. 760. 

[52] 



INTRODUCTION 

fies death can enjoy victory over death. Being must pass into Noth- 
ing in order to become Existence and Reality. Being and Not-Being, 
Life and Death, are inseparably bound together. They are what 
they are only as elements of a comprehensive unity. 

Thought also is Life. It has its own death within itself: the ele- 
ment of abstract understanding that analyzes, separates, distin- 
guishes, and thereby kills its object. This death is a necessary stage 
in the process of thinking. There is no rational insight without ana- 
lytic understanding. It is the emphasis laid upon abstract under- 
standing which separates Hegel from the Romanticists, the poet- 
philosophers, the visionary thinkers, and those who like Jacobi, 
Fries, and others would have intuition or belief supersede the 
intellect. 

4 'The life of spirit is not one that shuns death, and keeps clear 
of destruction; it endures its death and in death maintains its being. 
It only wins to its truth when it finds itself in utter desolation. It is 
this mighty pow T er, not by being a positive which turns away from 
the negative, as when we say of anything it is nothing or it is false, 
and, being then done with it, pass off to something else; on the con- 
trary, spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, 
and dwelling with it. This dwelling beside it is the magic power that 
converts the negative into being." 71 These solemn words in the 
Preface of Hegel's work convey the most personal, and at the same 
time the most impersonal, profession of faith. In a half-pictorial and 
half-conceptual form they point to the link which holds reason and 
revelation together. Dialectic passes through contradictions as 
through its death, but it does not terminate in them. It converts 
them into being. It establishes the kingdom of its truth on the grave 
of the intellect. "A contradiction in the realm of the dead is not one 
in the realm of life." 72 

Hegel's philosophy is in itself a speculative religion Christian- 
ity spelt by dialectic. Whether or not this speculative Christianity 

71. Ibid., p. 93. 

72. See below, p. 261. 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

has an objective truth is a question not to be answered here. But I 
should like to call attention to the grave danger involved in the dia- 
lectical reconciliation of reason and revelation. 

David Friedrich Strauss, Ludwig Feuerbach, and men like them 
Hegelians and also champions of anti-Christian materialism 
show the nature and gravity of this danger. Already Hegel, al- 
though he states emphatically that revealed religion is a source of 
speculative knowledge, subordinates revelation to reason. Accord- 
ing to him, the language of dialectic is the absolutely adequate form 
of the Absolute, while the language of religion is still veiled and in- 
direct. "Absolute Knowledge," (i.e., philosophy, not revealed re- 
ligion) is the concluding chapter of The Phenomenology of Mind. 
Philosophy no longer points beyond itself to religion, as in the frag- 
ment of 1800; it now comes full orbit within its own sphere in 
self-consciousness. This predominance of speculative thought con- 
jures up the imminent danger of a misapprehension of the Word of 
God. Divine inspiration seems no longer necessary when reason can 
provide what, in the biblical view, can be taught only by the proph- 
et and the Son of God. The element of thought within faith seems 
to assume precedence over the element of devotion, of fear and hope 
and love. 

At the end of the Phenomenology the word of man seems to pre- 
vail over the Word of God; the transformation of revelation into 
reason seems to imply the transference of the center of gravity from 
God to man. To be sure, this danger only looms behind the facade 
of Hegel's system. Hegel himself did not succumb to it. He would 
have solemnly protested against this conclusion. But the fact that 
soon after his death some of his disciples drew this conclusion may 
serve as a warning. There is only one step from the sublime to the 
trivial. The history of the German mind in the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries throws into relief the greatness of the danger. 
It was not only the banal and the shallow; at the end it was the 
brutal and the base that triumphed over the sublime. In his essay on 
"Natural Law" Hegel says that the man of excessive genius was a 
symptom of the inner disintegration and a portent of the approach- 

[54] 



INTRODUCTION 

ing fall of Greek civilization. 73 The same might be said about the 
great German thinkers, the greatest of whom was perhaps the au- 
thor of The Phenomenology of Mind. 

VI. THE FINAL SYSTEM 

When Hegel left Jena in 1 806, he had finished his apprenticeship. 
He was no longer searching for truth he had found it, and for the 
rest of his life he was perfecting his system and applying his dis- 
tinctive method to all departments of philosophical inquiry. His 
years at the Gymnasium in Nuremberg, at the University of 
Heidelberg, and finally at the University of Berlin were to mark his 
rise to a dominant position in German philosophy. 

Before Hegel joined Schelling at Jena, he wrote his friend that 
he wished he could live for a while in a Catholic town where he 
might become intimately acquainted with the usages, rites, and life 
of a Catholic population. His wish came true. From Jena he went to 
Bamberg, the lovely little town in South Bavaria where half-a-dozen 
churches and an archiepiscopal palace remind visitors of the ancient 
Catholic tradition. But his life there was not as he had dreamed it. 
He was living in religious surroundings and under political circum- 
stances which were opposed to his own convictions. And as editor 
of the local newspaper, he had to sympathize with the victorious 
Napoleon. 

After a year he was appointed head of the humanistic Gym- 
nasium at Nuremberg, where he was more at home than he had 
been at Bamberg. Nuremberg was an old Protestant citadel which 
Diirer and other Renaissance masters had adorned with the docu- 
ments of their genius, and whence in 141 5 the founder of the Hohen- 
zollern dynasty had gone to the Mark of Brandenburg, given him as 
a feudal tenure by the emperor Sigismund. In this historic town 
Hegel lived for eight years, from 1808 to 1816, in relative quiet 
and contemplative seclusion, working out the intricacies of his 
system especially his Logic. 

73. Hegel's Wcrkc, I, 389. 

[55] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

His school was devoted to classical scudies, but no longer in the 
old tradition of the German Gymnasium as primarily a Latin insti- 
tution. Under Hegel's regime the curriculum was changed; in addi- 
tion to the ancient languages, it included mathematics, the elements 
of the natural sciences, a modern language besides German, and 
philosophical rudiments. In a school address 74 defending these 
changes, Hegel spoke about the value of classical studies, which per- 
mit the student to become familiar with both the life of an alien 
civilization and its peculiar forms of thought as expressed in its 
language. The dual emphasis is indicative of Hegel's own interest. 
His mind was preoccupied with self-alienation as a metaphysical 
principle while working, at the same time, on an analysis of forms 
of thought. 

THE SCIENCE OF LOGIC 

The Nuremberg years were devoted to the writing of The Sci- 
ence of Logic, the first volume of which appeared in 1812. This so- 
called "greater logic" is a gigantic work. It combines the results of 
all ontological and epistemological investigations of the history of 
philosophy. The abyss of the old venerated riddles of metaphysics 
opens before the reader. A new solution is offered the solution 
first elaborated in the draft of 1801 . Greek speculation as well as the 
principles of modern metaphysics from Descartes and Spinoza to 
Fichte and Schelling are arranged as necessary steps within the 
self-movement of the Concept of the Absolute. The Logic is the 
resurrection and the eternal life of the basic motifs of European 
thought; it is their transfiguration and reinterpretation within the 
frame of Hegel's own metaphysical system. 

The guiding idea of the draft of 1801 is preserved: the idea of 
Thought as Life and of Life as Thought. The method is a dialectical 
movement in which all contrasts emerge and submerge, all cate- 
gories appear and disappear, all opposite principles arise and sub- 
side in a continuous stream that holds them together. Thought is 
ever changing, but also ever growing, never losing any of its con- 

74. See below, pp. 328-29. 

[56] 



INTRODUCTION 

elusions. All former principles assume the function of elements, or, 
as Hegel likes to call them, "moments" within the higher principles 
into which they develop by their own inherent unrest. This unrest 
is as much the vitality of thought as the logical necessity of the 
Concept. The highest category is the Absolute Idea which we met 
in the draft as the idea of the Absolute Mind. 

The Logic preserves the insights of Plato and Aristotle, cast 
in a congenial form and reconciled with the discoveries of Kant, 
Fichte, and Schelling. The innermost structure of both being and 
thinking is disclosed. Ultimate difficulties are not avoided; on the 
contrary they are used as guiding motives of the movement which 
goes on precisely because no solution is definitive until the very 
last step is taken and the goal of the whole movement is reached. 

But grand as this logical instrument of thought undoubtedly is, 
the whole undertaking makes the reader uneasy as to its claims and 
authority. It is certainly a hazardous undertaking. This Pantheon 
of all principles might be a graveyard where every breath of life is 
expired, where the great ideas of former centuries are buried, and 
death alone remains. But such a stricture, which involves a disbe- 
lief or at least a distrust in the Logic and its underlying idea, 
should not prevent us from studying it thoroughly. 

The achievement of the Logic as compared with the draft of 
1801 lies chiefly in a more complete fusion of logic and meta- 
physics. Since the Absolute is intrinsically Thought, the doctrine 
of thinking must be the doctrine of being. Hegel does not demon- 
strate this truth. It is the very substance of every word he writes. 

The categories are so many definitions of the Absolute. They 
are also the backbone of all reality be it natural or historical, 
physical or spiritual, rational or empirical. Because they constitute 
these opposites, they are what they are: categories. The Absolute 
divides itself into them and thinks itself in terms of them. Thinking 
always means distinguishing and then reuniting the distinguished 
terms, self-alienation and self-reconciliation. This process is the 
primordial logical phenomenon. It is also the inner metaphysical 
nature of the Absolute, the core of mind and spirit. 

[57] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

The categories are derived from the Absolute; they are con- 
catenated one with another in the Absolute; the Absolute links them 
together and, in doing so, unfolds and exhibits its own content. The 
human mind is permitted to observe this gigantic spectacle because 
its own inner citadel is occupied by the Absolute which is the very 
mind of mind. The difference between the divine and the human 
mind is rooted in the self-differentiation of the Absolute. The self- 
definition of the Absolute is therefore also the self-definition of the 
human mind, at least in so far as reason is concerned. The system of 
the categories is thus the system of reason itself. Reason is the com- 
mon root of the divine as well as of the human. 

Being and knowledge are inseparable two aspects of the same 
totality. But as aspects they are distinguishable and not simply ex- 
changeable. Being is the most primitive category, the general pre- 
supposition of all logical judgments and of all knowledge. Knowl- 
edge, the richest category, comes last in the ascending scale of 
manifestations. Being is all-inclusive content, knowledge all-in- 
clusive form. Being is the opposite of thought, as the content is the 
opposite of form. But the opposites are united in the Absolute and 
by the Absolute. 

Being is therefore its own contrary (as every category is) . It is 
its own contrary because it is a category that is, an element of 
thought, a concept, and consequently not what we mean by Being. 
It is all-embracing, but it is itself embraced by thought. It is im- 
possible to separate one aspect or one side. Being comprises all the 
differences of content and form, of quality and quantity, of finite- 
ness and infinity, of number and quantum, of measure and the im- 
measurable, and so on. But it is also being in contradistinction to 
these particular determinations of Being. It is more general or uni- 
versal than they are (this is a new paradox, since being is more con- 
crete than any particular category) . This basic logical antinomy is 
only a modification of the one discovered by Hegel in The Spirit of 
Christianity, elaborated in the fragmentary system of 1800, and ap- 
pearing as the basic logical antagonism in the draft of 1801. 

Being is Being, but it is also a concept, and it is as a concept that 

[58] 



INTRODUCTION 

it figures in the Logic. On the other hand, the Logic, just because 
it is a logic of Being, is not only a logic but also an ontology and a 
metaphysic. And the concept, Begriff, is therefore not only a con- 
cept but Being, Life, Reality itself. As a category, Being is the be- 
ginning of all thought. But the beginning, taken by itself, is an un- 
tenable position. One cannot take one's stand in the beginning; one 
has to move on, and the category of Being is therefore untenable. 
It can be preserved only by being transformed. In so far as Being is 
all-inclusive, its contrast is absolute Nothing. Being passes into 
this, its contrary. It can be preserved, or it can preserve itself, only 
by self-alienation. Being is Being only by virtue of opposing itself to 
its own counterpart: Nothing. There is neither Being nor Life with- 
out this antagonism, this self-negation, this death. 

Being can exist only by being more than the mere category of 
being or by embracing its own contrary nothing. In a certain 
sense it is commonplace to say that the opposites are identical, for 
to be opposed to something is to be of the same kind or type. 
White and black, day and night, high and low, are contraries only 
because they are the same colors, periods of the movement of the 
earth around the sun, determinations of space. But being and noth- 
ing are not the same type or kind. They are absolutely opposed to 
each other and absolutely united. It would be a mere formalism to 
insist that being and nothing are the same in the one case affirmed, 
in the other denied. But there is this truth in formalism: Nothing is 
indeed impossible without Being righting itself. Being is the funda- 
mental category. 

The system of logic has three parts : the logic of being, the logic 
of essence, and the logic of the concept. The concept is the syn- 
thesis of being and essence. In German the word for "essence" has 
shades of meaning not found in English. Wesen means not only "es- 
sence" but also "being" (as in "a human being") and "nature" (as 
in "the nature of things"). All these connotations are operative in 
the dialectical movement of Part II. The third part, the logic of the 
concept, contains chapters on subjects which are usually treated in 
the traditional formal logic, like the notion, the proposition, the in- 

[59] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ference, and so on. Here the contradictions take their most acute 
and distinct form. They pass through a series of antagonisms such 
as objectivity and subjectivity, necessity and freedom, theory and 
practice and are finally resolved and united in the Absolute Idea. 

THE "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 

The only work in which Hegel ever set down his whole system 
of philosophy was The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. He 
intended this as a textbook for his students at the University of 
Heidelberg, where he became a professor in 1816, but it is written 
in a language scarcely intelligible to anyone not already familiar 
with his terminology and dialectical method. In 477 short para- 
graphs he attempts to relate the story of the Absolute. 

The Absolute is Spirit. Spirit has to become what it is, has to 
make itself by its own activity and energy. Spirit is not mere Reason 
or Logos. It is reason, estranged from itself as Nature and return- 
ing from this self-estrangement to itself. Reason is harmonious sys- 
tem in itself in so far as it is comprised in the Logic; the Logic is 
thus the first part of the system. The Absolute Idea may be de- 
scribed in terms of Christian dogma as God before the Creation; 
and Hegel himself says so in the Introduction to the "greater logic." 
But there is a momentous difference between Hegel's philosophy 
and Christian dogma: according to Hegel, God before the Creation 
is not the heavenly Father of Jesus and of man; he is Logos and 
nothing but Logos. 

In this respect Hegel followed in the footsteps of the early 
Christian Fathers and Greek theologians, who fused the Platonic 
realm of Ideas and the idea of the eternal Son, Logos. But while 
those theologians conceive of Logos as the Son, Hegel conceives of 
him as the only God. From the prologue of the Gospel according to 
John, Hegel accepts only the words "In the beginning was the 
Word" and "The Word was God"; he disregards the clause "and 
the Word was with God." Or, to put it differently, in Hegel's the- 
ology God is Logos and Logos is God. There is no other God or no 
other person in God at any rate, not "in the beginning." God is 

[60] 



INTRODUCTION 

Logos, unfolding into the kingdom of Platonic Ideas, eternal 
"forms" or "patterns" by which all things are made and without 
whom nothing is made: the "categories" in which the Absolute 
Idea defines itself or thinks itself. 

The transition from the Logic to the Philosophy of Nature re- 
veals the mystery of Creation in speculative terms. Hegel, as I 
mentioned before, did not maintain the theory, expressed in the 
draft of 1801, that Creation and Fall coincided. He turned, rather, 
to the more orthodox conception of Creation as the deliberate and 
free act of the will of God. It is hard to understand how the dia- 
lectic can admit this act, or how it can be comprehended as the will 
of the Logos; but we should not forget that Hegel also accepted the 
words of the Gospel: "In him was life; and the life was the light of 
men." 

God is a dynamic Being; he is at once Thought and Will, Con- 
cept and Life, Reason and Spirit. But his nature is not yet explicitly 
revealed "in the beginning"; it is, in fact, not manifest until the 
whole systematic self-movement is consummated. To speak again in 
terms of Christian dogma: God in the beginning is Logos; at the 
end he is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is Logos in so far as he 
exists before the creation of nature and man; he is the Holy Trinity 
after he has passed through nature and man and reveals himself to 
man. God in the fulness of his existence is present only in the reli- 
gious and metaphysical consciousness. But this consciousness arises 
only after Logos returns from self-estrangement in the realm of 
Nature to itself within the soul and mind of man. 

God appears in absolute religion as the loving Father, as the self- 
sacrificing Son, and as the Holy Spirit. Therefore the third part of 
the Encyclopedia, the philosophy of mind, consummates the whole 
self-manifestation of Logos. At the end, Logos conceives of itself, 
or rather Himself, as the Infinite Spirit that is the real subject of 
philosophy and theology. Swinging full-circle, the Encyclopedia re- 
turns to its beginning. Its cyclical structure makes the solution of 
the ultimate problem possible: it confirms the underlying unity and 

[61] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Of all of Hegel's writings, this book is the one most vehemently 
debated. Some of the heat of the debate rises from the philosophic 
interest of the work; but much feeling is aroused by the political 
opinions it expresses. Hegel has been bitterly criticized for his re- 
actionary views, which were allegedly dictated by his position as 
official teacher of Prussian politics. In particular, Rudolf Haym, the 
author of a brilliant book on Hegel, 76 has made this accusation. Ac- 
cording to some critics, Hegel's conception of the state was pri- 
marily responsible for all the evil deeds of the Prussian kings and 
their governments, and the brutality and insane cruelty of the 
Nazis was the logical outcome of the opinions first advocated in 
Hegel's Philosophy of Right. 

May it suffice to say that the philosophic contents of the work do 
not substantiate these reproaches and strictures. It is true that Hegel 
was no longer the revolutionary he had been in his Tubingen years. 
Enthusiasm for the French Revolution had grown cold. The Phe- 
nomenology had already characterized in frank and graphic terms 
the terror into which this great political experiment finally degen- 
erated and had tried to save the values it destroyed. But Hegel 
never became a Prussian reactionary. He was much too loyal a son 
of his native Swabia to be converted into an ardent Prussian. He 
was and this is the most important point much too great a meta- 
physician to become a narrow-minded provincial, even when the 
province was the kingdom of the Hohenzollern. 

Hegel's political philosophy never ceased to be liberal. He never 
disavowed the ideals of his youth. The ethical system propounded 
in the Philosophy of Right glorifies the idea of moral freedom. Be- 
cause he is morally free, man is more than a natural being, more than 
an animal endowed with intellect and self-consciousness. In this re- 
spect Hegel remained throughout his life a faithful disciple of Kant. 
The right will is the morally good will, and the good will is the will 
that determines itself, while nature and all merely natural phenom- 
ena are determined by the necessity which regulates their course. 
The state as Hegel defines it is the system in which concrete free- 

75. Hegel und seine Zeit (Berlin, 1857). 

[64] 



INTRODUCTION 

dom is established and protected. History is the progress of the 
consciousness of freedom, its growth and eventual victory. 

Hegel was admittedly a defender of the sovereignty of the state. 
His belief in civil liberty was limited by his belief in the superior 
prerogative of the nation at large. He therefore defines the state as 
the perfect totality of the nation, organized by laws and civil 
courts; and the ethical ideal was a community in which the individ- 
ual is in full agreement with the universal will of the state. In this 
form the Romantic transfiguration of the Greek ideal has been pre- 
served and maintained in his classical period. 

It is true that Hegel believed in the historical process as divinely 
ordained and that this belief deeply influenced his political views. 
History is shaped by Providence, and Providence is Reason and can 
therefore be understood by the speculative dialectic of the philoso- 
pher. From this conviction a certain quietism resulted, satisfaction 
with actual conditions, and submissiveness to the universal will 
not of the state but of the world. A deeply religious attitude tinges 
all political and historical aspects of Hegel's philosophy. Not party 
politics nor class prejudice, but metaphysical fervor determines his 
views. 

It cannot be denied that in this acquiescent attitude a danger is 
involved. What we call "historicism" exaggerated belief in the 
absolute determination of the historical process against which the 
will of man is powerless is certainly a symptom of weariness and 
pessimism. Though Hegel was not a historicist in this sense, he 
opened the door to this unbalanced philosophy. 

A presentiment of cultural weariness and decay seems to have 
haunted Hegel at the height of his maturity, as it haunted Goethe 
and other contemporaries. In the Preface of the Philosophy of 
Right, a famous passage hints at the coming doom of European 
civilization: "When philosophy paints its gray in gray, then has a 
shape of life grown old. By philosophy's gray in gray it cannot be 
rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its 
wings only with the falling of dusk." This is a melancholy consid- 
eration, after a life devoted to the discovery of truth and to the ad- 

[65] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

vocacy of freedom and right. We may lament this resignation. But 
the author of these words may well have had a foreboding of what 
was in store for Germany and the whole Continent. 

Hegel's own speculative vigor had abated when he wrote this 
passage. In the history of thought, however, the author of The 
Spirit of Christianity and of The Phenomenology of Mind will live. 
No one can read these works without being instructed and enriched. 
Even if his metaphysics should be abandoned, the memory of his 
tremendous spiritual struggles and his shining victories will endure. 
Every epoch will learn from him. 



[66] 



I 

THE POSITIVITY OF THE CHRISTIAN 
RELIGION 

[PART I. HOW CHRISTIANITY BECAME THE 
POSITIVE RELIGION OF A CHURCH] 

[ 1. PREFACE] 

(152) 1 You may advance the most contradictory speculations 
about the Christian religion, but, no matter what they may be, nu- 
merous voices are always raised against you, alleging that what you 
maintain may touch on this or that system of the Christian religion 
but not on the Christian religion itself. Everyone sets up his own 
system as the Christian religion and requires everyone else to en- 
visage this and this only. 

The method of treating the Christian religion which is in vogue 
today takes reason and morality as a basis for testing it and draws 
on the spirit of nations and epochs for help in explaining it. By one 
group of our contemporaries, whose learning, clarity of reasoning, 
and good intentions entitle them to great respect, this method is re- 
garded as a beneficent "Illumination" which leads mankind toward 
its goal, toward truth and virtue. By another group, which is re- 
spectable on the strength of the same learning and equally well- 
meaning aims, and which in addition has the support of govern- 
ments and the wisdom of centuries, this method is decried as down- 
right degeneracy. Still more suspect, from another point of view, 
are investigations like those which are the subject of this essay. I 
mean that if we are not dealing with what for Christian scholars is 

1 . [Numerals so inset are references to the pages of the German text. See 
the translator's Prefatory Note. Hegel's surviving manuscript begins here, and 
its original exordium is lost. It probably dealt with the conception of "posi- 
tivity." See the commencement of Part III below.] 

[67] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mass of expedients they had devised for evading the law, and the 
peace which conscience found in observing the letter of the law, in 
sacrifices and other sacred customs, instead of in obedience to the 
moral law. To the latter alone, not to descent from Abraham, did 
Jesus ascribe value in the eyes of God; in it alone did he acknowl- 
edge the merit which deserved a share of blessedness in another 
life. 

The value of a virtuous disposition and the worthlessness of a 
hypocritical exactitude confined to merely external religious exer- 
cises were publicly taught by Jesus to the people both in his na- 
tive country, Galilee, and also in Jerusalem, the center of Judaism. 
In particular, he formed a more intimate association with a group 
of men who were to support him in his efforts to influence the 
whole people on a larger scale. But his simple doctrine, which re- 
quired renunciation, sacrifice, and a struggle against inclinations, 
achieved little against the united force of a deeply rooted national 
pride, a hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness interwoven with the 
whole constitution, and the privileges of those who were in charge 
alike of the faith and the fulfilment of the laws. Jesus had the pain 
of seeing the utter shipwreck of his plan for introducing morality 
into the religious life of his people, and the very ambiguous and in- 
complete effect* even of his efforts to kindle at least in some men 
higher hopes and a better faith. Jesus himself was sacrificed to the 
hatred of the priesthood and the mortified national vanity of the 
Jews. 



ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"], has too wide a 
scope (it is available even to the vicious man as a maxim of prudence) for it to 
afford a moral principle, k would have been remarkable indeed if a religion 
like the Jewish, which had made God its political legislator, had not also con- 
tained purely moral principles. 

* E.g., [a] Judas, [b] Matthew xx. 20 ["Grant that these my two sons may 
sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom"], an 
event that occurred after James and John had been in the company of Jesus for 
some years, [c] Even in the last (155) moments of his stay on earth, a few mo- 
ments before his so-called "Ascension," the disciples still displayed in its full 
strength the Jewish hope that he would restore the Jewish state (Acts i. 6) 
["They asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the 
kingdom to Israel?"]. 

[70] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

How could we have expected a teacher like Jesus to afford any in- 
ducement to the creation of a positive religion, i.e., a religion which 
is grounded in authority and puts man's worth not at all, or at 
least not wholly, in morals? Jesus never spoke against the estab- 
lished religion itself, but only against the moral superstition that 
the demands of the moral law were satisfied by observance of the 
usages which that religion ordained. He urged not a virtue grounded 
on authority (which is either meaningless or a direct contradiction 
in terms), but a free virtue springing from man's own being 

[ 4.] WHENCE CAME THE POSITIVE ELEMENT 
[IN CHRISTIANITY]? 

Jesus, on this view, was the teacher of a purely moral religion, 
not a positive one. Miracles and so forth were not intended to be 
the basis of doctrines, for these cannot rest on observed facts; those 
striking phenomena were perhaps simply meant to awaken the at- 
tention of a people deaf to morality. On this view, many ideas of 
his contemporaries, e.g., their expectations of a Messiah, their rep- 
resentation of immortality under the symbol of resurrection, their 
ascription of serious and incurable diseases to the agency of a pow- 
erful evil being, etc., were simply used by Jesus, partly because 
they stand in no immediate connection with morality, partly with 
a view to attaching a nobler meaning to them; as contemporary 
ideas they do not belong to the content of a religion, because any 
such content must be eternal and unalterable. 

Against this view that the teaching of Jesus is not positive at 
all, that he did not wish to base anything on his authority, two 
parties raise their voices. They agree in maintaining that, while the 
[Christian] religion of course contains principles of virtue, it also 
contains positive prescriptions for acquiring God's favor by exer- 
cises, feelings, and actions rather than by morality. But they differ 
from one another in that one of them holds this positive element in 
a pure religion to be inessential and even reprehensible, and for this 
reason will not allow even the religion of Jesus the distinction of 
being a virtue religion; while the other puts the pre-eminence of 

[71] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Jesus' religion precisely in this positive element and holds that it 
is just as sacrosanct as the principles of ethics; in fact, it often 
bases the latter on the former and even sometimes allows a greater 
importance to the former than to the latter. 

To the question, "How has the religion of Jesus become a posi- 
tive religion?" the latter party can easily give an answer because it 
maintains that it issued as a positive religion (156) from the lips 
of Jesus, and that it was solely on his own authority that Jesus de- 
manded faith in all his doctrines and even in the laws of virtue. 
This party holds that what Sittah in Nathan* says of Christians is 
no reproach : "The faith their founder seasoned with humanity the 
Christians love, not because it is humane, but because Christ 
taught it, because Christ practiced it." The phenomenon of how a 
positive religion could have been so widely received this party ex- 
plains by maintaining that no religion is so well adapted as this one 
to the needs of mankind, because it has satisfactorily answered 
those problems which practical reason raised but could not possibly 
solve by its own efforts, e.g., the problem of how even the best of 
men can hope for forgiveness of his sins, since even he is not free 
from them. The effect of this answer is to raise what should be 
problems to the rank of postulates of the practical reason, and what 
was formerly sought along the route of theory, i.e., a proof of the 
truth of Christianity by reasoned arguments, is now proved 3 by 
what is called a "practical reason." Nevertheless, it is familiar 
ground that the system of the Christian religion as it exists today 
is the work of many centuries; that in this gradual determination of 
the several dogmas the Fathers were not always led by knowledge, 
moderation, and reason; and that even in the original reception of 
Christianity what was operative was not simply a pure love of 
truth, but at least to some extent very mixed motives, very un- 
holy considerations, impure passions, and spiritual needs often 

2. [Lessing, Nathan der Weise, II, 1, 869 ff. (Nohl). Hegel says "faith" 
where Sittah. says "superstition."] 

3. [Hegel is probably thinking of the work of G. C. Storr, one of his teach- 
ers at Tubingen. See Pfleiderer, Development of Theology in Germany since Kant 
(London, 1890), p. 86.] 

[72] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

grounded solely in superstition. We must therefore be allowed, in 
explaining the origin of the Christian religion, to assume that ex- 
ternal circumstances and the spirit of the times have also had an 
influence on the development of its form; the study of this influence 
is the aim of church history, or more strictly the history of dogma. 

In the present inquiry there is no intention of following the 
guiding hand of history and studying the more detailed development 
of the doctrinal course taken by the church. We are to search, part- 
ly in the original shape of Jesus' own religion, partly in the spirit 
of the epoch, for certain general reasons which made it possible for 
the character of the Christian religion as a virtue religion to be mis- 
conceived in early times and turned at first into a sect and later into 
a positive faith. 

The picture given above of Jesus' efforts to convince the Jews 
that the essence of the virtue or the justice which is of value in 
God's sight did not lie purely and simply in following the Mosaic 
law (157) will be recognized by all parties of the Christian com- 
munion as correct, though it will also be pronounced very incom- 
plete. 

The assertion that even the moral laws propounded by Jesus 
are positive, i.e., that they derive their validity from the fact that 
Jesus commanded them, betrays a humble modesty and a disclaimer 
of any inherent goodness, nobility, and greatness in human nature; 
but it must at least presuppose that man has a natural sense of the 
obligation to obey divine commands. If nothing whatever in our 
hearts responded to the challenge to virtue, and if therefore the call 
struck no chord in our own nature, then Jesus' endeavor to teach 
men virtue would have had the same character and the same out- 
come as St. Antony of Padua's zeal in preaching to fish; the saint 
too might have trusted that what his sermon could not do and what 
the nature of the fish would never have allowed might yet have been 
effected by assistance from above. But how it has come about that 
even the moral laws came to be looked upon as something posi- 
tive is a matter which we shall reach in the sequel. 4 

4. [See below, pp. 78-79, 85-86.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Our intention is not to investigate how this or that positive doc- 
trine has been introduced into Christianity, or what changes have 
gradually arisen along with any such doctrine, or whether this or 
that doctrine is wholly or partly positive, is knowable purely from 
reason or not. Consequently, we shall in the main touch only on 
those features in the religion of Jesus which led to its becoming 
positive, i.e., to its becoming either such that it was postulated, but 
not by reason, and was even in conflict with reason, or else such that 
it required belief on authority alone, even if it did accord with 
reason. 

[ 5. THE CONCEPTION OF A SECT] 

A sect presupposes some difference of doctrine or opinion, 
usually a difference from those that are prevalent, but also merely a 
difference from those held by others. A sect may be called a "philo- 
sophical" one if it is distinguished by its doctrines about what in 
essence is obligatory and virtuous for human beings, or by its ideas 
about God; if it connects damnation and unworthiness only with a 
deviation from ethical principles and not with errors in the manner 
of their deduction; if it regards the imagery of popular belief as 
unworthy of a thinking man but not as blameable. As the opposite 
of a philosophical sect we ought properly to take not a religious 
one but a positive one for which both ethical principles and also 
what strictly does not depend on reason at all but has its creden- 
tials in the national imagination 5 are not so much unnecessary for 
morality as downright sinful and therefore to be guarded against; 
or again such a positive sect is one which puts in the place of this 
positive [product of popular imagination] some other positive doc- 
trine, ascribes to belief in it the same worth and dignity as it as- 
cribes to ethical principles, and even goes so far as to put those who 
do not (158) believe in it (even if that is not their own fault, as may 
be the case with a positive faith, though not with a moral one) on 
the same level with morally bad men. 

It is for sects of this positive kind that the name "sect" ought 

5. [See below, Part II, 1.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

properly to be reserved because it implies a measure of contrariety, 
and a philosophical school does not deserve to be labeled with a 
name carrying with it something like the idea of condemnation and 
intolerance. Moreover, such positive sects ought not to be called 
"religious" sects as they commonly are, because the essence of 
religion lies elsewhere than in positive doctrine. 

Between these two kinds of sect [philosophical and positive], we 
might place a third which accepts the positive principle of faith in 
and knowledge of duty and God's will, regarding it as sacred and 
making it the basis of faith, but holds that it is the commands of 
virtue which are essential in the faith, not the practices it orders 
or the positive doctrines it enjoins or may entail. 

[ 6. THE TEACHING OF JESUS] 

The teaching of Jesus was of this third kind. He was a Jew; the 
principle of his faith and his gospel was not only the revealed will 
of God as it was transmitted to him by Jewish traditions but also 
his own heart's living sense of right and duty. It was in the follow- 
ing of this moral law that he placed the fundamental condition of 
God's favor. In addition to this teaching, its application to in- 
dividual cases, and its illustration by fictitious examples (para- 
bles), there are certain other matters in his history, and it is these 
which contributed to the founding of a faith on authority. Just as 
in a man who teaches virtue and intends to work against the cur- 
rent of moral corruption in his time, his own moral character is of 
the highest importance, and without it his words would fall from 
his lips cold and dead; so in this instance many circumstances com- 
bined to make the person of the teacher more important than was 
really necessary for the recommendation of the truth he taught. 

[ 7.] JESUS HAS MUCH To SAY ABOUT His OWN 
INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY 

Jesus was compelled for his own purposes to speak a great deal 
about himself, about his own personality. He was induced to do 
this because there was only one way in which his people were ac- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

cessible. They were most heartily convinced that they had received 
from God himself their entire polity and all their religious, politi- 
cal, and civil laws. This was their pride; this faith cut short all 
speculations of their own; it was restricted solely to the study of 
the sacred sources, and it confined virtue to a blind obedience to 
these authoritarian commands. A teacher who intended to effect 
more for his people than the transmission of a new commentary on 
these commands and who wished to convince them of the inadequacy 
of a statutory ecclesiastical faith (159) must of necessity have 
based his assertions on a like authority. To propose to appeal to 
reason alone would have meant the same thing as preaching to fish, 
because the Jews had no means of apprehending a challenge of that 
kind. To be sure, in recommending a moral disposition, he had the 
aid of the inextinguishable voice of the moral command in man and 
the voice of conscience; and this voice itself may have the effect of 
making an ecclesiastical faith less preponderant. But if the moral 
sense has entirely taken the direction of the ecclesiastical faith and 
is completely amalgamated with it, if this faith has got sole and 
complete mastery of the heart, and if all virtue is based on it alone 
i o that a false virtue has been produced, then the teacher has no al- 
ternative save to oppose to it an equal authority, a divine one. 

Jesus therefore demands attention for his teachings, not because 
they are adapted to the moral needs of our spirit, but because they 
are God's will. This correspondence of what he said with God's 
will, and his statements that "who believes in me, believes in the 
Father/' "I teach nothing save what the Father has taught me" 
(which particularly in St. John is the dominant and ever recurring 
idea), gave him his authority, and without this authority they could 
not in themselves have been brought home to his contemporaries, 
no matter how eloquent his conception of virtue's worth. He may 
hip/e been conscious of a tie between himself and God, or he may 
merely have held that the law hidden in our hearts was an immediate 
revelation of God or a divine spark, and his certainty that he taught 
only what this law enjoined may thus have made him conscious of a 
correspondence between his teaching and the will of God. Every 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

day anyone can see examples of how far men can renounce their 
own native powers and freedom, how they can submit to a perpetual 
tutelage with such willingness that their attachment to the fetters 
they place on reason is all the greater the heavier these fetters are. 
In addition to recommending a virtue religion, Jesus was also 
bound continually to bring himself, the teacher of this religion, into 
play; he had to demand faith in his person, a faith which his virtue 
religion required only for its opposition to the positive doctrines 
[of Judaism]. 

[ 8.] JESUS SPEAKS OF HIMSELF AS THE MESSIAH 
There was still another cause, originating in the previous one. 
This was the expectation of a Messiah who, girdled with might as 
Jehovah's plenipotentiary, was to rebuild the Jewish state from its 
foundations. A teaching different from that which the Jews already 
possessed in their sacred documents they were disposed to accept 
only from this Messiah. The hearing which they and most of his 
closer friends gave to Jesus was based in the main on the possibility 
that he was perhaps this Messiah and would soon (160) show him- 
self in his glory. Jesus could not exactly contradict them, for this 
supposition of theirs was the indispensable condition of his finding 
an entry into their minds. But he tried to lead their messianic hopes 
into the moral realm and dated his appearance in his glory at a time 
after his death. I recalled above 6 how firmly his disciples still clung 
to this faith, and this was another inducement for him to speak of 
his own personality. Still another was the fact that he hovered on 
the brink of danger to his safety, freedom, and life. This anxiety 
for his person compelled him frequently to defend himself, to ex- 
plain his intentions and the aim of his chosen mode of life, and to 
link with the commendation of justice pure and simple, the com- 
mendation of justice toward himself. 

Finally, in the case of a man whose teaching makes him ex- 
traordinary, questions are asked not only about his teaching but 
also about the circumstances of his life, and insignificant traits 

6. [P. 70, note.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

arouse interest, although no one cares anything about them if they 
are told of an ordinary man. Similarly, the person of Jesus, even 
independently of his teaching, must have become infinitely more 
important still because of the story of his life and unjust death and 
must have riveted attention and captivated the imagination. We 
share in the interesting fate of unknown and even fictitious persons, 
we sorrow and rejoice with them; we feel in ourselves the injustice 
encountered by an Iroquois. How much more deeply must the 
image of their innocently sacrificed friend and teacher have sunk 
into the minds of his friends! In spreading his teaching, how could 
they forget their teacher? They had a grateful memory of him; his 
praise was as dear and as close to their hearts as his doctrine, but 
it inevitably became of still more concern as a result of those ex- 
traordinary events which occurred in his history and surpassed the 
nature and powers of human beings. 

[ 9.] MIRACLES 

The Jews were incapable of forging a faith by their own exer- 
tions or of grounding one in their own nature. Hence much of the 
confidence and attention which Jesus won from them was to be 
ascribed to his miracles, even though his power to work these does 
not seem to have struck his more learned contemporaries* as much 
as might have been expected of people better acquainted with nat- 
ural possibilities and impossibilities than ordinary people are. It is 
true that opponents of Christianity have advanced considerations 
against the reality, and philosophers against the possibility, of the 
miracles, but this does not diminish their effect, because what is 
everywhere admitted, and what is enough for our argument here, 
is that these deeds of Jesus were miracles in the eyes of his pupils 
and friends. Nothing has (161) contributed so much as these mira- 
cles to making the religion of Jesus positive, to basing the whole of 
it, even its teaching about virtue, on authority. Although Jesus 

* Other Jews managed to cure demoniacs ; moreover, when Jesus healed the 
withered hand in the synagogue, what struck them first was not the cure but 
the desecration of the Sabbath. 

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POSIT IVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

wanted faith, not on the strength of his miracles, but on the strength 
of his teaching, although eternal truths are of such a nature that, if 
they are to be necessary and universally valid, they can be based on 
the essence of reason alone and not on phenomena in the external 
world which for reason are mere accidents, still the conviction of 
man's obligation to be virtuous took the following road: Miracles, 
loyally and faithfully accepted, became the basis of a faith in the 
man who worked them and the ground of his authority. This au- 
thority of his became the underlying principle of the obligation to 
act morally, and, if the Christians had always kept on this road 
right to its end, they would still have had a great superiority over 
the Jews. But after all they stopped halfway; and just as the Jews 
made sacrifices, ceremonies, and a compulsory faith into the essence 
of religion, so the Christians made its essence consist in lip service, 
external actions, inner feelings, and a historical faith. This cir- 
cuitous route to morality via the miracles and authority of an in- 
dividual, together with the numerous places en route where stops 
are necessary, has the defect of any circuitous route, because it 
makes the destination farther off than it really is, and it may read- 
ily induce the traveler to lose sight of the road altogether in the 
course of his deviations and the distractions of his halts. But this is 
not its only defect; in addition, it does injury to the dignity of mor- 
ality, which is independent, spurns any foundation outside itself, 
and insists on being self-sufficient and self-grounded. 

It was not Jesus' teaching about virtue which was now supposed 
to be in itself an object of reverence, though, if it had been, it would 
subsequently have produced reverence for the teacher also; on the 
contrary, reverence was now required for the teaching only on ac- 
count of the teacher, and for him only on account of his miracles. 

The man who has become pious and virtuous by this circuitous 
route is too humble to ascribe most of his moral disposition to his 
own virtuous powers, to the reverence he pays to the ideal of holi- 
ness, or, in general, to ascribe to himself the native capacity or re- 
ceptivity for virtue and the character of freedom. But this char- 
acter, the source of morality, has been wholly renounced by the 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

man who has subjected himself to the law only when compelled by 
fear of his Lord's punishment; hence, when he is deprived of the 
theoretical faith in this power on which he is dependent, he is like 
an emancipated slave and knows no law at all. The law whose yoke 
he bore was not given by himself,* by his reason, since (162) he 
could not regard his reason as free, as a master, but only as a serv- 
ant; and, when his appetites were in question, nothing was left to it 
but this service. That this route from the story of the miracles to 
faith in a person, and from this faith, if all goes well, to morality, 
is the universal high road ordained in the Symbolical Books 7 is as 
familiar as the proof that the proper basis for virtue lies in man's 
reason, and that human nature, with the degree of perfection de- 
manded of it, is too dignified to be placed at the level of nonage 
where it would always need a guardian and could never enter the 
status of manhood. 

Folly dwells 

In souls that run with an ignoble aim, etc. 8 
It was not Jesus himself who elevated his religious doctrine into 
a peculiar sect distinguished by practices of its own; this result de- 
pended on the zeal of his friends, on the manner in which they con- 
strued his doctrine, on the form in which they preached and propa- 
gated it, on the claims they made for it, and on the arguments by 
which they sought to uphold it. Here then arises the question: 
What were the character and abilities of Jesus' disciples, and what 

* This is why the loss of a purely positive religion so often has immorality 
as its result; if the faith was a purely positive one, then the responsibility for 
this result lies directly with the positive faith, not with the loss of it. 

7. [I.e., the Confessions of the various Protestant churches, especially the 
Lutheran churches.] 

8. [The quotation is from Klopstock's ode "Rhine Wine" (1753), trans- 
lated by W. Hind (London, 1848), p. 113: 

Folly dwells 

In souls that run with an ignoble aim, 
Lured by the tinkling of the (immortal fool's) bells 
Desert still waits thee. Nobly fill thy part, 
The world will know it. And the part most fair 
Is virtue. To the master-works of Art 
Fame is secure; to Virtue, rare."] 

[80] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

was the manner of their connection with Jesus which resulted in 
turning his teaching into a positive sectarianism? 

[ 10.] THE POSITIVE ELEMENT DERIVED FROM 
THE DISCIPLES 

While we have few details about the character of most of Jesus' 
pupils, this much at least seems certain that they were remarkable 
for their honesty, humility, and friendliness, for their pluck and 
constancy in avowing their master's teaching, but they were ac- 
customed to a restricted sphere of activity and had learned and 
plied their trades in the usual way as craftsmen. They were dis- 
tinguished neither as generals nor as profound statesmen; on the 
contrary, they made it a point of honor not to be so. This was their 
spirit when they made Jesus' acquaintance and became his scholars. 
He broadened their horizon a little, but not beyond every Jewish 
idea and prejudice.* Lacking any great store of spiritual energy of 
their own, they had found the basis of their conviction about the 
teaching of Jesus principally in their friendship with him and de- 
pendence on him. They had not attained truth and freedom by their 
own exertions; only by laborious learning had they acquired a 
dim sense of them and certain formulas about them. Their am- 
bition was (163) to grasp and keep this doctrine faithfully and 
to transmit it equally faithfully to others without any addition, 
without letting it acquire any variations in detail by working 
on it themselves. And it could not have been otherwise if the 
Christian religion was to be maintained, if it was to be estab- 
lished as a public religion and handed on as such to posterity. If a 
comparison may be permitted here between the fates of Socrates' 
philosophy and Jesus' teaching, then in the difference between the 
pupils of the two sages we find one reason among others why the 
Socratic philosophy did not grow into a public religion either in 
Greece or anywhere else. 

* For an instance see Acts [xii. 11], where Peter, the most fervent of them 
all, says: "Now I know for a surety [that the Lord hath sent his angel]." Cf. 
also the vessel with the different animals [Acts x. 9 ff.], and the incidents cited 
above [p. 70, note]. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

[ 11. THE DISCIPLES CONTRASTED WITH THE PUPILS 
OF SOCRATES] 

The disciples of Jesus had sacrificed all their other interests, 
though to be sure these were restricted and their renunciation was 
not difficult; they had forsaken everything to become followers of 
Jesus. They had no political interest like that which a citizen of a 
free republic takes in his native land; their whole interest was con- 
fined to the person of Jesus. 

From their youth up, the friends of Socrates had developed 
their powers in many directions. They had absorbed that demo- 
cratic spirit which gives an individual a greater measure of in- 
dependence and makes it impossible for any tolerably good head 
to depend wholly and absolutely on one person. In their state 
it was worth while to have a political interest, and an interest of 
that kind can never be sacrificed. Most of them had already been 
pupils of other philosophers and other teachers. They loved Socra- 
tes because of his virtue and his philosophy, not virtue and his 
philosophy because of him. Just as Socrates had fought for his na- 
tive land, had fulfilled all the duties of a free citizen as a brave sol- 
dier in war and a just judge in peace, so too all his friends were some- 
thing more than mere inactive philosophers, than mere pupils of 
Socrates. Moreover, they had the capacity to work in their own 
heads on what they had learned and to give it the stamp of their 
own originality. Many of them founded schools of their own; in 
their own right they were men as great as Socrates. 

[ 12. THE NUMBER OF DISCIPLES FIXED AT] TWELVE 
Jesus had thought fit to fix the number of his trusted friends at 
twelve, and to these as his messengers and successors he gave a 
wide authority after his resurrection. Every man has full authority 
for the diffusion of virtue, and there is no sacrosanct number of the 
men who feel called to undertake the founding of God's kingdom 
on earth. Socrates did not have seven disciples, or three times three; 
any friend of virtue was welcome. In a civil polity, it is appropriate 
and necessary to fix the number of the members of the representa- 

[82] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

tive bodies and the law courts and to maintain it firmly; (164) but 
a virtue religion cannot adopt forms of that kind drawn from con- 
stitutional law. The result of restricting the highest standing to a 
specific number of men was the ascription of high standing to cer- 
tain individuals, and this became something continually more essen- 
tial in the later constitution of the Christian church, the wider the 
church spread. It made possible Councils which made pronounce- 
ments about true doctrine in accordance with a majority vote and 
imposed their decrees on the world as a norm of faith. 

[ 13.] THE DISCIPLES SENT FORTH ON THEIR MISSION 
Another striking event in the story of Jesus is his dispatch of his 
friends and pupils (once in larger and on another occasion in smaller 
numbers) into districts which he had no opportunity of visiting and 
enlightening himself. On both occasions they seem to have been 
absent from him for a few days only. In the short time which they 
could devote on these journeys to the education and betterment of 
men, it was impossible to achieve much. At best they could draw 
the people's attention to themselves and their teacher and spread the 
story of his wonderful deeds; but they could not make any great 
conquests for virtue. This method of spreading a religion can suit a 
positive faith alone. As a method of extirpating Jewish supersti- 
tion and disseminating morality, it could have no proceeds, because 
Jesus himself did not carry his most trusted friends very far in this 
direction even after years of effort and association with them. 

[ 14.] THE RESURRECTION AND THE COMMANDS GIVEN 
THEREAFTER 

In this connection we must also notice the command which 
Jesus gives to his disciples after his resurrection to spread his doc- 
trine and his name. This command (especially as worded in Alark 
xvi. 15-18) 9 characterizes the teacher of a positive religion just as 
markedly as the touching form of his parting words before his 

9. ["Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He 
that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be 
damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe : In my name shall they 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

death characterizes the teacher of virtue: 10 with a voice full of the 
tendcrest friendship, with an inspiring feeling for the worth of re- 
ligion and morality, at the most important hour of his life he spends 
his few remaining minutes in commending love and toleration to his 
friends and in impressing on them that they are to be indifferent to 
the dangers into which virtue and truth may bring them. Instead of 
"Go ye," etc., a teacher of virtue would perhaps have said: u Let 
every man do as much good as possible in the sphere of activity as- 
signed to him by nature and Providence." In his valediction the 
teacher of virtue places all value in doing; but in the one in Mark 
all value is placed in believing. Moreover, Jesus sets an external 
sign, baptism, as a distinguishing mark, makes these two positive 
things, belief and baptism, the condition of salvation, and condemns 
the unbeliever. However far you elevate the belief in question into 
a living belief, active in works of (165) mercy and philanthropy, 
and however far you lower the unbelief to an obstinate refusal, 
against one's better knowledge and conscience, to recognize the 
truth of the Gospel, and even if you then grant that it is only be- 
lief and unbelief of this kind that is meant, though that is not exact- 
ly stated in plain words, nevertheless a positive element still per- 
sistently and essentially clings to the faith and is so attached to the 
dignity of morality as to be as good as inseparable from it; salva- 
tion and damnation are bound up with this element. That it is this 
positive element which is principally meant in this command to the 
disciples is clear also from what follows, where the gifts and at- 
tributes to be assigned to believers are recited, namely, "to cast 
out devils in his name, to speak with new tongues, to take up ser- 
pents without danger, to drink any poisoned draught without hurt, 
and to heal the sick through laying on of hands." There is a striking 



cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; 
and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands 
on the sick and they shall recover."] 

10. [Hegel is contrasting the command (whose authenticity he clearly 
doubts) with John's account of the discourses after the Last Supper. See below, 
the first paragraph of 19 and also pp. 276-77.] 

[84] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

contrast between the attributes here ascribed to men who are well- 
pleasing to God and what is said in Matthew vii. 22: ["Many will 
say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy 
name? And in thy name have cast out devils? .... And then I will 
profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that 
work iniquity"]. In the latter passage precisely the same traits are 
sketched, namely, casting out devils in the name of Jesus, speaking 
in his name in the language of prophets,* and performing many other 
wonderful works, and yet a man with all these attributes may be of 
such a character that the judgment of condemnation will be pro- 
nounced on him by the judge of the world. These words (Mark 
xvi. 15-18) are possible only on the lips of a teacher of a positive 
religion, not on those of a teacher of virtue. 

[15. How THE TEACHING OF JESUS CAME To BE INTER- 
PRETED IN A POSITIVE SENSE] 

The teaching of Jesus requires an unconditional and disinter- 
ested obedience to the will of God and the moral law and makes this 
obedience a condition of God's favor and the hope of salvation; but 
it also contains the various features described above, and it was 
these which could induce those who kept and disseminated his re- 
ligion to base the knowledge of God's will, and the obligation to 
obey it, solely on the authority of Jesus, and then set up the recog- 
nition of this authority as part of the divine will and so as a duty. 
The result of this was to make reason a purely receptive faculty, in- 
stead of a legislative one, to make whatever could be proved to be 
the teaching of Jesus or, later, of his vicars, an object of reverence 
purely and simply because it was the teaching of Jesus or God's 
will, and something bound up with salvation or damnation. Even 
moral doctrines, now made obligatory in a positive sense, i.e., not 
on their own account, but as commanded by Jesus, lost the inner 
criterion whereby their necessity is established, and were placed 
on the same level with (166) every other positive, specific, com- 

* It is common knowledge that this means more than just prophesying; it 
approximates rather, or is at least akin to, jcatvcus y\u<rcrais XaXeu/ [speaking 
with new tongues, Mark xvi. 17.]. 

[85] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mand, with every external ordinance grounded in circumstances or 
on mere prudence. And though this is otherwise a contradictory 
conception, the religion of Jesus became a positive doctrine about 
virtue. 

Now the teaching of Jesus did not simply grow into a purely 
philosophical school, i.e., it did not just distinguish itself from 
the public faith and regard that faith as a matter of indifference. On 
the contrary, it regarded the public faith, with the observance of 
the commands and usages it enjoined, as sinful; while it conceived 
the final end of mankind as attainable only by way of the commands 
which it issued itself and which consisted partly in moral commands 
and partly in positively ordained beliefs and ceremonies. This de- 
velopment of Christ's teaching into the positive faith of a sect gave 
rise to most important results both for its external form and also 
for its content. These results have continually and increasingly 
diverted it from what we are beginning to take as the essence of 
any true religion, the Christian religion included, i.e., from having 
as its purpose the establishment of human duties and their under- 
lying motives in their purity and the use of the idea of God to show 
the possibility of the summum bonum. 

[ 16.] WHAT Is APPLICABLE IN A SMALL* l SOCIETY Is 
UNJUST IN A STATE 

A sect which treats moral commands as positive and then links 
other positive commands with them acquires certain distinctive 
characteristics which are wholly alien to a purely philosophical 
sect (i.e., a sect which also maintains religious doctrines but which 
recognizes no judge other than reason) . These characteristics are 
expedient, appropriate, and permissible in a small society of sec- 
tarian believers, but so soon as the society or its faith becomes 
more widespread and even omnipresent throughout a state, then 
either they are no longer appropriate (or rather, if nevertheless 
still retained, they acquire a different significance), or else they 

1 1 . [Nohl omits this word, but it is in Hegel's manuscript. See Rosenzweig, 
Hegel und der Staat (Munich and Berlin, 1920), I, 227.] 

[86] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

become actually wrong and oppressive. Purely as a result of the 
fact that the number of Christians increased and finally comprised 
all citizens in the state, ordinances and institutions, which hurt no 
one's rights while the society was still small, were made political 
and civil obligations which they could never in fact become. 

A great deal that was appropriate to a small handful of sectaries 
must have disappeared with an increase in their number, e.g., the 
close ties of brotherhood between members who closed their ranks 
the more they were oppressed and despised. This bond of a similar 
faith has now become so loose that a man with no interest or 
friends outside the ties of religion, who consequently has no closer 
connections than those ties, can count very little on the sympathy 
and regard even of good Christians if he needs help and can allege 
in his favor no title to aid, no poverty or merit, no talent or wealth, 
except brotherhood in Christ. (167) This close bond between 
Christians as members of a positive sect was quite different from 
the relation which may subsist between friends who form a philo- 
sophical sect. To attach yourself to a philosophical sect makes little 
or no difference to family, civil, or other ties; you remain on the 
same footing as before with wife and children and all unlearned 
folk, and the philanthropy which a friend in such a sect may feel 
will retain the same direction and scope. But anyone who joined 
the small sect of Christians eo ipso alienated himself from many 
with whom he had previously been linked by kinship, office, or 
service; his sympathy and beneficence became restricted to a narrow 
and limited circle whose chief recommendation now lay in similar 
ity of opinion, in its mutual philanthropy, in the services it per 
formed, and in the influence which perhaps it might have. 

[ 17.] COMMON OWNERSHIP OF GOODS 

Equally rapidly there disappeared what was only possible in a 
small sect, namely, community of goods, which involved the prin- 
ciple that any believer who was received into the group and who 
reserved any of his property for himself thereby committed a crime 
against God's majesty. This maxim was well enough suited to the 

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man who had no possessions; but it must have been a serious prob- 
lem for anyone who had property and who was now to renounce 
all that care for it which had previously filled the whole sphere of 
his activity. If this maxim had been retained in all its rigor, it 
would have been small aid to the expansion of Christianity; con- 
sequently, it was abandoned, whether by dire necessity or from pru- 
dential considerations, at an early date. At any rate, it was now no 
longer required of a man who wished to join the community as a 
condition of his reception, although the need for free-will offerings 
to the common purse as a means of buying a place in Heaven was 
inculcated all the more vigorously. The result in the course of time 
was profitable to the priesthood because the laity was encouraged 
to give freely to the priests, though the latter took good care not to 
squander their own acquisitions, and thus, in order to enrich them- 
selves the poor and needy! they made the rest of mankind beg- 
gars. In the Catholic church this enrichment of monasteries, priests, 
and churches has persisted; little is distributed to the poor, and this 
little in such a way that beggars subsist on it, and by an unnatural 
perversion of things the idle vagrant who spends the night on the 
streets is better off in many places than the industrious craftsman. 
In the Protestant church the offering of butter and eggs to the 
pastor is given as to a friend if he acquires the affection of his flock, 
and it is given voluntarily, not as a means of buying a place in 
Heaven. (168) As for almsgiving, even a poor Jewish beggar is 
not chased away from the doors of the charitable. 

[18.] EQUALITY 

Equality was a principle with the early Christians; the slave 
was the brother of his owner; humility, the principle of not elevat- 
ing one's self above anyone else, the sense of one's own unworthi- 
ness, was the first law of a Christian; men were to be valued not by 
honors or dignity, not by talents or other brilliant qualities, but by 
the strength of their faith. This theory, to be sure, has been retained 
in all its comprehensiveness, but with the clever addition that it is 
in the eyes of Heaven that all men are equal in this sense. For this 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

reason, it receives no further notice in this earthly life. A simple- 
minded man may hear his bishop or superintendent preaching with 
touching eloquence about these principles of humility, about the 
abhorrence of all pride and all vanity, and he may see the edified ex- 
pressions with which the lords and ladies in the congregation listen 
to this; but if, when the sermon is over, he approaches his prelate 
and the gentry with the hope of finding them humble brothers and 
friends, he will soon read in their laughing or contemptuous faces 
that all this is not to be taken au pied de la lettre and that only in 
Heaven will it find its literal application. And if even today eminent 
Christian prelates annually wash the feet of a number of the poor, 
this is little more than a comedy which leaves things as they are 
and which has also lost much of its meaning, because washing the 
feet is in our social life no longer what it was with the Jews, name- 
ly, a daily action and a courtesy to guests, performed as a rule only 
by slaves or servants. On the other hand, while the Chinese em- 
peror's annual turn at the plow may equally have sunk to the level 
of a comedy, it has yet retained a greater and a more direct signifi- 
cance for every onlooker, because plowing must always be one of 
the chief occupations of his subjects. 

[ 19.] THE LORD'S SUPPER 

So too another action which had one form on the lips and in the 
eyes of the teacher of virtue, Jesus himself, acquired quite a dif- 
ferent one for the restricted group of early Christians, and a dif- 
ferent one again for the sect when it became universal. Anyone 
whose talent for interpretation has not been whetted by the con- 
cepts of dogmatic theology and who reads the story of the last 
evening or the last few evenings which Jesus spent in the bosom of 
his trusted friends will find truly sublime the conversation which 
he had with his disciples about submission to his fate, about the 
way the virtuous man's consciousness of duty raised him above 
sorrows and injustices, about the love for all mankind by which 
alone obedience to God (169) could be evinced. Equally touching 
and humane is the way in which Jesus celebrates the Jewish Pass- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

over with them for the last time and exhorts them when, their 
duties done, they refresh themselves with a friendly meal, whether 
religious or other, to remember him, their true friend and teacher 
who will then be no longer in their midst; whenever they enjoyed 
bread and wine, they were to be reminded of his body sacrificed, 
and his blood shed, for the truth. This sensuous symbol in which he 
imaginatively conjoined his memory with the serving of the meal 
they would enjoy in the future was very easily apprehended from 
the things on the table in front of them; but if it is regarded purely 
aesthetically, it may seem something of a play on words. Nonethe- 
less, it is more pleasing in itself than the persistent use of the words 
"blood and flesh/' "food and drink" (John vi. 47 ff.), in a meta- 
physical sense, which even theologians have pronounced to be 
rather harsh. 

This human request of a friend in taking leave of his friends 
was soon transformed by the Christians, once they had become a 
sect, into a command equivalent to a divine ordinance. The duty of 
respecting a teacher's memory, a duty voluntarily arising from 
friendship, was transformed into a religious duty, and the whole 
thing became a mysterious act of worship and a substitute for the 
Jewish and Roman sacrificial feasts. The free-will offerings of the 
rich put the poor into a position to fulfil this duty which thus be- 
came agreeable to them, for otherwise they would have discharged 
it inadequately or with difficulty. In honor of Christ there was soon 
ascribed to such feasts an effect independent of and over and above 
the power that any ordinary healthy meal has on the body, or that 
unrestrained relaxation has on cheerfulness, or, in this special in- 
stance, that pious conversation has on edification. 

But as Christianity became more general there arose among the 
Christians a greater inequality of rank which, to be sure, was re- 
jected in theory but retained in practice, and the result was a cessa- 
tion of this fraternization. In early times the complaint was occa- 
sionally made that the spiritual love-feasts degenerated into occa- 
sions and scenes of fleshly love; but gradually there was less and 
less ground for this complaint, because bodily satisfaction became 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

less and less prominent, while the spiritual and mystical element 
was valued all the more highly, and other more trifling feelings, 
which were there at the start in friendly conversation, social inter- 
course, mutual opening and stimulation of hearts, are no longer 
considered as of any account in such a sublime enjoyment. 

[ 20.] EXPANSIONISM 

Another characteristic of a positive sect is its zeal for expansion, 
for proselytizing for its faith and on Heaven's behalf. 

(170) If a righteous man has the spread of virtue near his heart, 
he is for that very reason just as deeply animated by a sense of every 
man's right to his own convictions and his own will. He is ready 
enough to regard casual differences of opinion and faith as imma- 
terial and as a field in which no one has a right to alter what an- 
other has chosen. 

The righteous adherent of a philosophical system which makes 
morality the ground and aim of all life and all philosophizing over- 
looks the illogicality of an Epicurean or anyone else who makes 
happiness the principle of his philosophical system and who, de- 
spite his theory which, pursued to its strictly logical consequences, 
would leave no difference between right and wrong, virtue and 
vice, yet contrives to give the better part of himself the upper 
hand. Again, the righteous philosopher highly esteems the Chris- 
tian who might draw on his system of dogma, or at least on many 
parts of it, to bolster up a false easiness of conscience, but who pre- 
fers to cling to the true and divine element in his religion, i.e., to 
morality, and is a truly virtuous man. What such a contradiction 
between head and heart does is to induce the philosopher to marvel 
at the invincible might of the Ego which triumphs over an intellect 
full of morally destructive convictions and a memory packed with 
learned phrases. 

Similarly, the righteous adherent of any positive sect will recog- 
nize morality as the pinnacle of his faith, and the adherent of any 
other sect whom he finds to be a friend of virtue he will embrace as 
a brother, as an adherent of a like religion. A Christian of this 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

kind will say to a Jew of this kind, as the Lay Brother said to 
Nathan: 

Thou art a Christian; by God, thou art a Christian. 
A better Christian never was. 

And to such a Christian such a Jew will reply [as Nathan did] : 

'Tis well for us! For what makes me for thee 
A Christian, makes thee for me a Jew. 12 

Yes, 'tis well indeed! Purity of heart was for both of you the es- 
sence of your faith, and this made it possible for each of you to re- 
gard the other as belonging to his own fellowship. 

On the other hand, if it is the positive element in a man's reli- 
gion which has infinite worth for him, and if his heart has no higher 
principle to set above this element, then (171) his attitude to the 
adherents of other sects will depend on the kind of man he is in other 
matters, and he will either pity or loathe them, (a) If he pities 
them, he will feel himself driven to indicate to the ignorant and un- 
happy the only way to the happiness he hopes to gain for himself. 
He will be specially inclined to do this if he has other reasons for 
loving them, and all the more because the means of finding this 
way seem so easy, so very easy. Memory needs only a few hours to 
grasp all that is needed for this purpose, and, once the man who has 
strayed from the path finds the right way, he also finds so many 
brothers to support him, so many restoratives, consolations, and 
resting-places, (b) If he loathes them, he does so because his posi- 
tive faith is as firmly interwoven with himself as the sense of his 
own existence, and therefore he can only believe that failure to 
accept this faith has its roots solely in an evil will. 

The general run of men usually find difference of character and 
inclination more intelligible and tolerable than difference of opin- 
ion. We hold that it is so easy to change opinions and we believe 
that a change can be demanded because we so readily expect our 
point of view from others or exact it from them. We assume that 
what is congenial to our minds cannot be scandalous to anyone else. 

12. [Lessing, Nathan der Wim, IV, 7, 3067-70 (Nohl).] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

Another contributing cause or excuse [for not tolerating the 
opinions of others] is the pious thought, though a narrow one in 
this instance, that it is a duty to promote the honor of God, to pro- 
cure for him that mode of worship and service which alone is 
worthy of him, and to restrain those who neglect the requisite opin- 
ions and practices as if they were offending against the most sacred 
duties. If a man does so offend, then some will try to reform him 
by convincing or persuading him, but the Spaniards in America, 
like their Holy Inquisition even today, felt themselves called upon 
to punish such offenses and avenge by death this lese-majeste, this 
crime against God, and most of the other Catholic and Protestant 
ecclesiastical regimes [still] regard it as their duty to exact the 
penalty of exclusion from civil rights. 

The individual holds his positive faith with all the more convic- 
tion the more people he sees convinced, or can convince, of it. 
Faith in virtue is supported by the sense of virtue's inevitability, 
the sense that it is one with one's own innermost self. But in the 
case of any article in a positive faith, the believer strives to banish 
both his own sense that it may still admit of doubts and also the 
experiences of others in whom these doubts have become strength- 
ened into reasons for rejecting that positive faith, and he does this 
by trying to collect as many people as possible under the banner of 
his positive faith. A sort of surprise comes over a sectary if he 
hears of men who are not of his faith, and this feeling of uneasiness 
which they create in him is very readily transformed into dislike of 
them and hatred. When reason (172) feels itself unable to char- 
acterize positive doctrines, grounded on history, as necessary, it is 
inclined as far as possible to impose on them, or to discover in 
them, at least that universality which is the other characteristic of 
rational truths. This is why, among the so-called "proofs" of the 
existence of God, the proof ex comensu gentium has always found a 
place, and it does at least carry with it a measure of reassurance. 
Faced with the very terrors of hell, men have often found some con- 
solation in the thought that they will only be sharing the fate of 
many others. The yoke of faith, like any other, becomes more toler- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

able the more associates we have in bearing it, and, when we at- 
tempt to make a proselyte, our secret reason is often our resent- 
ment that another should be free from chains which we carry our- 
selves and which we lack the strength to loose. 

But Christianity has already made great conquests in the domain 
of heathenism, and theologians boast with great satisfaction that 
the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled or are at least ap- 
proaching fulfilment, that belief in Christ will soon be spread over 
the whole earth, and that all nations of the world shall serve him. 
The result of this abundance of Christians is that zeal for conver- 
sion has become much cooler. Although controversialists have re- 
tained the entire arsenal of those Christian weapons that have won 
so many victories against the Jews and the heathen, and although 
there would still be plenty to do among the Jews and particularly 
the Mohammedans, nevertheless the efforts directed against the 
heathen in India and America can only be called inadequate in com- 
parison with what might be expected from the multitude of nations 
who together make up Christendom, especially when we think of 
their wealth and their superiority in all the arts. Against the Jews, 
finally, who are making their homes among us to an ever increasing 
extent, there rises no more than a cry that "Gentleness will con- 
quer," and even so, only small numbers of people are roused to 
join in that crusade. 

Christianity has been quickly and widely spread as a result of 
miracles, the steadfast courage of its adherents and martyrs, and 
the pious prudence of its more recent leaders who have sometimes 
been forced to use a pious fraud for the furtherance of their good 
work, a fraud always called "impious" by the profane. Even 
though this extraordinarily swift spread of Christianity constitutes 
a great proof of its truth and of divine providence, still it is not 
uncommonly the case today that the edifying stories of conversions 
in Malabar, Paraguay, or California do not arouse interest because 
of the pious activities of their authors, because of the preaching of 
Christ's name on the Ganges or the Mississippi, or because of the 
increase in Christ's kingdom; on the contrary, they are valuable in 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

the eyes (173) of many who call themselves Christians rather for 
what may be drawn from them to enrich geography, natural his- 
tory, and anthropology. 

Proselytes do appear here and there, though now but rarely. On 
the whole, they receive little honor or attention, so that the ad- 
miration expressed at this triumph, e.g., at the spectacle of the 
baptism of a converted Jew, may be taken by him as a congratula- 
tion on his reversion from error, or even almost as an astonishment 
that he should have strayed into the Christian church. But the fact 
that, in the main, so little more than this happens is also to be ex- 
cused on the ground that the most dangerous enemies of Chris- 
tianity are internal ones, and so much labor and so many para- 
phernalia are needed for dealing with these that little thought can 
be given to the salvation of Turks or Samoyeds. 

[21.] How A MORAL OR RELIGIOUS SOCIETY GROWS 

INTO A STATE 18 

In civil society only those duties are in question which arise out 
of another's rights, and the only duties the state can impose are of 
this order. The other's right must be sustained, but I may for 
moral reasons impose on myself a duty to respect it, or I may not. 
In the latter event, I am treated forcibly by the state, as if I were a 
mere natural object. The other's right must first be proved before 
the duty of respecting it arises. A very conscientious man may de- 
cline to regard as valid the claims another may make on the score 
of his rights until the other has proved them. But, once he is con- 
vinced of the other's right, he will also recognize the duty of sat- 
isfying the other's claims, and he will do this of his own accord 
without any judicial pronouncement to that effect. Nevertheless, 
the recognition that he has this duty arises only out of a recognition 
of the other's right. 

But there are also other duties which do not arise from another's 
right, e.g., the duty of charity. A man in misfortune has no prima 

13. [The following arguments are based in the main on Mendelssohn's 
Jerusalem (Nohl).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

facie right to my purse except on the assumption that I ought to 
have made it my duty to assist the unfortunate. So far as I am con- 
cerned, my duty is not grounded in his right; his right to life, 
health, etc., belongs to him not as this specific individual but simply 
as a man (the child's right to life belongs to its parents), and it im- 
poses the duty of preserving his life, etc,, not on another specific 
individual but on the state or in general on his immediate circle. 
(When a specific individual is asked to help a case of poverty, we 
often hear the excuse that he does not know why he should do it; 
someone else can do it as well as he can. He prefers to acquiesce in 
making a contribution along with others, partly of course because 
in that event he will not have to bear the whole cost himself, but 
partly (174) because he feels that this duty falls not on him alone 
but on others as well.) A poor man can demand alms as a right from 
me as a member of the state; but if he makes his demand to me per- 
sonally, he is directly making a demand which he should have made 
indirectly through the state. On me as a moral being there is a 
moral demand, in the name of the moral law, to impose on myself 
the duty of charity. On me as a pathological being (i.e., one en- 
dowed with sympathetic impulses) the beggar makes no demand; 
he works on my nature only by arousing my sympathy. 

Justice depends on my respecting the rights of others. It is a 
virtue if I regard it as a duty and make it the maxim of my actions, 
not because the state so requires but simply because it is a duty, and 
in that event it is a requirement of the moral law, not of the state. 
The second kind of duties, e.g., charity whether as a contribution 
to the poor box or as the foundation of hospitals, cannot be demand- 
ed by the state from specific individuals in specific circumstances, 
but only from the citizens en masse and as a general duty. Charity 
pure and simple is a duty demanded by morality. 

Besides these duties there may also be others which arise neither 
from rights against me as an individual nor from rights against hu- 
manity in general. These do not arise from the rights of others at 
all. I have simply imposed them on myself voluntarily, not because 
the moral law so requires. Here the rights I allow to another are 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

equally allowed to him simply from my own free choice. Of this 
kind are the duties I freely impose on myself by entering a society 
whose aim is not opposed to that of the state (if it were, I would 
have trespassed against the state's rights). My entry into such a 
society gives its members certain rights against me; these are 
based simply on my voluntary entry into the society and in turn 
they form the basis of voluntarily accepted duties. 

The rights against me which I concede to such a society cannot 
be rights which the state has against me, or otherwise I would be 
recognizing a power in the state which, though different from the 
state, yet had equal rights with it. The state cannot grant me liberty 
to concede to a society the right of giving a judicial verdict on 
someone's life or on a dispute about property (though, of course, I 
may regard the society as a friendly arbiter to whose judgment I 
am submitting of my own free will) . But I may concede to such a 
society the right to supervise my moral life, to give me moral guid- 
ance, to require me to confess my faults, and to impose penances on 
me accordingly; but these rights can last only so long as my deci- 
sion to impose on myself the duties from which these rights arise. 
Since these (175) duties are not grounded in another's rights, I am 
at liberty to renounce the duties and, together with them, the other's 
rights; and, moreover, another reason for this liberty is that these 
duties are assumed voluntarily to such an extent that they are not 
even commanded by the moral law. Yet I may also cancel another's 
rights even if they arise originally out of duties imposed on me by 
the moral law; for example, I may at my pleasure cancel the right 
I have allowed to a poor man to demand a weekly contribution from 
me, because his right was not self-subsistent but first arose from 
my imposing on myself the duty of giving him this contribution. 

Not as a state, but only as a moral entity, can the state demand 
morality of its citizens. It is the state's duty not to make any ar- 
rangements which contravene or secretly undermine morality, 
because it is in its own greatest interest, even for the sake of 
legality (its proper aim), to insure that its citizens shall also be 
morally good. But if it sets up institutions with a view to bringing 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

about this result directly,* then it might issue laws enacting that 
its citizens ought to be moral, but they would be improper, contra- 
dictory, and laughable. The state could only bring its citizens to 
submit to these institutions through their trust in them, and this 
trust it must first arouse. Religion is the best means of doing this, 
and all depends on the use the state makes of it whether religion is 
able to attain this end. The end is plain in the religion of all nations; 
all have this in common, that their efforts always bear on producing 
a certain attitude of mind, and this cannot be the object of any 
civil legislation. A religion is better or worse according as, with a 
view to producing this disposition which gives birth to action in 
correspondence with the civil or the moral laws, it sets to work 
through moral motives or through terrorizing the imagination and, 
consequentially, the will. If the religious ordinances of the state 
become laws, then once again the state attains no more than the 
legality which is all that any civil legislation can produce. 

It is impossible for the state to bring men to act out of respect for 
duty even if it calls religion to its aid and thereby seduces men into 
believing that morality has been satisfied by the observance of 
these state-regulated religious practices, and persuades them that 
no more than this is required of anyone. But though this is impos- 
sible for the state, it is what good men have always tried to do both 
on a large and on a small scale. 

(176) This too was what Jesus wanted among his people, for 
whom morality was all the more difficult of attainment, and in 
whom the delusion that legality is the whole of morality was all the 
more deeply rooted, in that all their moral commands were reli- 
gious commands, and these were commands and were obligatory 
only because they were divine. 

Now if an Israelite fulfilled the commands of his God, i.e., if 
he kept the feasts properly, managed his sacrifices properly, and 
paid tithes to his God, then he had done everything which he could 

* Varying the political institutions whose imperceptible influence builds 
up a virtuous spirit in the people [has an indirect moral effect], but this is 
not to the point here. 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

regard as his duty. These commands, however, which might be 
moral, as well as religious, were at the same time the law of the 
land, and laws of that kind can produce no more than legality. A 
pious Israelite had done what the divine commands required, i.e., 
he had fulfilled all the legal requirements, and he simply could not 
believe that he had any further obligations. 

Jesus aimed at reawakening the moral sense, at influencing the 
attitude of mind. For this reason, in parables and otherwise, he ad- 
duced examples of righteous modes of action, particularly in con- 
trast with what, e.g., a purely legal-minded Levite might regard 
himself as bound to do, and he left it to his hearers' feelings to de- 
cide whether the Levite's action was sufficient. In particular, he 
showed them how what morality required contrasted with what 
was required by the civil laws and by those religious commands 
which had become civil laws (he did this especially in the Sermon 
on the Mount, where he spoke of the moral disposition as the com- 
plementum 14 of the laws). He tried to show them how little the ob- 
servance of these commands constituted the essence of virtue, since 
that essence is the spirit of acting from respect for duty, first, be- 
cause it is a duty, and, secondly, because it is also a divine com- 
mand; i.e., it was religion in the true sense of the word that he 
tried to instil into them. Despite all their religious feeling, they 
could only be citizens of the Jewish state; only a few of them were 
citizens of the Kingdom of God. Once unfettered by the positive 
commands which were supposed to usurp the place of morality, 
their reason would have attained freedom and would now have been 
able to follow its own commands. But it was too immature, too un- 
practiced in following commands of its own; it was unacquainted 
with the enjoyment of a self- won freedom, and consequently it was 
subjected once more to the yoke of formalism. 

The early Christians were united by the bond of a common 
faith, but in addition they formed a society whose members en- 
couraged one another in their progress toward goodness and a firm 
faith, instructed one another in matters of faith and other duties, 

14. [I.e., "fulfilment" (see The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate, ii).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

dissolved each other's doubts, strengthened waverers, pointed out 
their neighbors' faults, confessed their own, poured out their re- 
pentance and their confession in the bosom of the society, promised 
obedience to it and to those intrusted with its supervision, and 
agreed to acquiesce in any punishment which these might impose. 
Simply by adopting the Christian faith a man entered this society 
(177), assumed duties toward it, and ceded to it rights against 
him. To adopt the Christian faith without at the same time sub- 
mitting to the Christian society and to its claims against proselytes 
and every Christian would have been contradictory, and the Chris- 
tian's greater or lesser degree of piety was measured, especially at 
the start, by the degree of his loyalty or obedience to the society. 
On this point too there is a distinction between a positive sect 
and a philosophical one. It is by the recognition and conviction of 
the teachings of a philosophical system, or, in practical matters, by 
virtue, that a man becomes an adherent of a philosophical sect or 
a citizen of the moral realm, i.e., of the invisible church. In doing 
so, he adopts no duties except the one imposed by himself, and he 
gives his society no rights over him except the one that he himself 
concedes, namely, the duty of acting righteously, and the right to 
claim such action from him. On the other hand, by entering the so- 
ciety of the "positive" Christian sect, he has assumed the duty of 
obeying its statutes, not because he has himself taken something for 
obligatory, good, and useful, but because he has left the society to 
decide these matters and recognized something as duty simply and 
solely at another's command and on another's judgment. He has ac- 
cepted the duty of believing something and regarding it as true be- 
cause the society has commanded belief in it, whereas, if I am con- 
vinced of a philosophical system, I reserve the right to change my 
conviction if reason so requires. By entering the Christian society 
the proselyte has transferred to it the right of settling the truth for 
him and assumed the duty of accepting this truth independently, 
and even in contradiction, of reason. He has adopted the duty, as in 
the social contract, of subjecting his private will to a majority vote, 
i.e., to the general will. Fear clutches at the heart if one imagines 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

one's self in such a situation; the outlook is sadder still if we re- 
reflect on what the issue of such a pedantry might be; and the most 
lamentable spectacle of all is what we actually see in history, name- 
ly, the miserable sort of culture mankind has adopted by every 
man's renouncing, for himself and his posterity, all right to decide 
for himself what is true, good, and right in the most important mat- 
ters of our faith and knowledge and in all other departments of 
life. 

The ideal of perfection which the Christian sect sought to realize 
in its members differed at different times, and in the main it was at 
all times extremely confused and defective. This may be guessed 
from the very way in which it was to be realized, i.e., by the ex- 
tinction of all freedom of will and reason (i.e., of (178) both prac- 
tical and theoretical reason) ; and we may judge from the cham- 
pions in whom the church has found its ideal realized how the sort 
of holy will which it has demanded of its ideal [adherents] is pro- 
duced by unifying into a single concept what truly pious men 
have in common with vagrants, lunatics, and scoundrels. 

Since an ideal of moral perfection cannot be the aim of civil leg- 
islation, and since the Christian ideal could least of all be the aim of 
Jewish and heathen governments, the Christian sect attempted to 
influence the attitude of mind and to take that as a standard for de- 
termining men's worth and their deserts, whether reward or pun- 
ishment. The virtues which it approved and rewarded were of the 
kind which the state cannot reward, and similarly the faults it 
punished were not the object of the church's vengeance because 
they conflicted with the civil laws but because they were sins 
against the divine commands. These faults were of three types: 
(a) vices and trespasses which, though immoral, could not fall 
within the competence of civil courts; (b) offenses which were li- 
able to civil punishments but which at the same time contravened 
morality, or the church's morality, and could be punished by the 
church only as such contraventions; (c) offenses against purely ex- 
ternal ecclesiastical ordinances. The church did not put itself in the 
state's place or administer the state's jurisdiction: the two juris- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

dictions were quite distinct. What it did often enough try to do 
was to withdraw from the arm of the law anyone guilty of a civil 
offense who had acted in the spirit of the sect. 

A common purpose and common means of attaining it, namely, 
the furtherance of morality by means of mutual encouragement, 
admonition, and reward, may unite a small society without detri- 
ment to the rights of any individual or the state. Respect for a 
friend's moral qualities and confidence in his love for me must 
first have awakened my trust in him before I can be assured that 
the shame with which I confess my faults will not be received with 
contempt or mortifying laughter; that, if I trust him with my se- 
crets, I shall not have to fear betrayal; and that, in advising me for 
my good, for my highest good, his motive will be an interest in my 
well-being and a respect rather for the right than for my material 
advantage. In short, before men can be united in this way, they 
must be friends. 

This condition necessarily restricts a society of this kind to a 
few members. If it expands, then I am compelled to take as wit- 
nesses of my shame men whose feelings toward me I do not know, 
as my counselors men of whose wisdom I have no experience, as 
guides to my duties men whose (179) virtue I cannot yet estimate: 
an unfair demand. In a small society of friends I can vow obedience, 
and it can demand obedience from me, only in so far as it has con- 
vinced me that a certain way of acting is my duty; I can promise 
faith and it can demand it only if I have fully made up my mind 
that there are good reasons why the faith is true. A society of this 
kind I can leave if I think I need it no more, i.e., when I think I 
have reached my majority, or if its character appears to be such that 
I can no longer give it my confidence, that I can no longer regard it 
as fulfilling its purpose, or that I propose to renounce my aim of 
making moral progress (an aim which virtue may demand of me 
though no man may), whether I renounce it altogether or only 
renounce the sort of progress which the society desires. While I 
remain in the society I must be left free to choose the means even if 
I still will the society's end, and my choice must either be made on 

[102] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

the basis of my judgment that it is good or else be adopted out of 
confidence in my friends. 

This compact, which is actually found in any friendship based 
on mutual respect or a common will for the good, may readily be- 
come irksome and petty if it is extended to cover trifles and if it 
meddles with things which properly must always be left to in- 
dividual choice. 

The early Christians were friends in this sense. They were made 
so, or their previous acquaintanceship was strengthened, by what 
they had in common, namely, their oppressed situation and their 
doctrine. Comfort, instruction, support of every kind, each found 
in the other. Their aim was not a free search for the truth (since 
the truth was already given) so much as the removal of doubt, the 
consolidation of faith, and the advance in Christian perfection 
which was most intimately connected with these. As the faith be- 
came more widely disseminated, every Christian should have found 
in every other, the Egyptian in the Briton, wherever he might 
chance to meet him, a friend and a brother like those he might ex- 
pect to find in his household or among his neighbors. But this bond 
became continually looser, and friendship between Christians went 
so little below the surface that it was often a friendship between 
members of a community who, though separated from one another 
by vanity and clashing interests, did act to outward appearance and 
by profession in accordance with Christian love, but who regarded 
their petty envy, their dogmatism, and their arrogance as zeal for 
Christian virtue and passed them off for such or who could readily 
put actual animosity down to some dissimilarity in doctrine or 
insincerity in behavior. 

Entry into the society was regarded as every man's duty, his 
most sacrosanct duty to God; exit from it as entry into (180) hell. 
But although the sect hated and persecuted anyone who resigned 
from its fellowship, resignation did not entail the loss of civil 
rights any more than not joining it at all did. Moreover, by entering 
the society a man acquired neither those rights nor even the quali- 
fication for acquiring them. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

A fundamental condition of entry into the Christian society, a 
condition which differentiates it in toto from a philosophical group, 
was the unconditional obedience in faith and action which had to be 
vowed to the society. Since everyone was left free either to join 
the society or not, and since membership had no bearing on civil 
rights, this condition entailed no injustice. 

All these traits which are found in a circle of trusted friends, 
united for the purpose of truth-seeking or moral improvement, are 
also found in the society of the Christian sects whose bond is the 
furtherance of Christian perfection and fortification in Christian 
truth. These same traits are met later on a large scale in the Chris- 
tian church once it has become universal; but because this church 
has become a church which is universal throughout a state, their 
essence is disfigured, they have become contradictory and unjust, 
and the church is now a state in itself. 

While the Christian church was still in its beginnings, each con- 
gregation had the right to choose its own deacons, presbyters, and 
bishops. When the church expanded and became a state, this right 
was lost. Just as in the temporal state an individual corporation re- 
signs to the sovereign (whose will is regarded as expressing the will 
of all) its right of choosing its officials and tax-collectors and fixing 
its own taxes, so too every Christian congregation has lost the right 
of choosing its pastor and resigns it to the spiritual state. 

Public confessors were appointed as counselors in matters of 
conscience. Originally, everyone was free to choose a friend whom 
he respected and to make him the confidant of his secrets and faults, 
but instead of this the rulers of the spiritual state now arranged 
that these confessors should be officials to whom everyone had to 
have recourse. 

Confession of one's faults was originally voluntary, but now it 
is the duty of every citizen of the spiritual state, a duty over whose 
transgression the church has pronounced its supreme punishment, 
eternal damnation. 

(181) Surveillance of Christian morality is the chief aim of this 
spiritual state, and therefore even thoughts, as well as those vices 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

and sinful impulses whose punishment is outside the scope of the 
state proper, are objects of legislation and punishment by the 
spiritual state. A crime against the temporal state (which as such 
is punished by that state) is punished over again as a sin by the 
spiritual state which also punishes as sins all crimes which cannot 
be the object of civil legislation. The result is that the list of punish- 
ments in canon law is endless. 

No society can be denied the right to exclude those who refuse 
to submit to its laws, because everyone is free in his choice to enter 
it, to assume the duties of membership, and thereby to acquire a 
right to its benefits. Just as this right is granted to every guild and 
corporation, so too the church has the right to exclude from its fel- 
lowship those people who decline to accept the conditions imposed, 
namely, faith and the other modes of behavior. But since the scope 
of this [spiritual] state is now the same as that of the temporal state, 
a man excluded from the spiritual state is thereby deprived of his 
civil rights as well. This did not happen while the church was still 
circumscribed, still not dominant, and hence it is only now that 
these two kinds of state come into collision with one another. 

That the Protestant church, just as much as the Catholic, is a 
state, although it repudiates the name, is clear from the fact that the 
church is a contract of each with all and all with each to protect 
every member of the society in a specific faith and specific reli- 
gious opinions, and to make arrangements for maintaining these 
opinions and fortifying every member in this faith. (I said "in a 
specific faith" because it would be an article of the civil contract that 
everyone shall be protected in his own private faith and that no one 
shall be allowed to suffer injury in his faith, or because of it, by 
force, the only possible source of such injury.) It follows that every 
individual in respect both of these arrangements and also of the 
general faith (which is the object of the ecclesiastical contract just 
as rights of person and property are objects of the civil contract) 
must subject his private will to the general will expressed in the 
will of the sovereign. Now sovereignty belongs, so far as the legis- 
lative power is concerned, to councils and synods, and so far as the 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

executive power is concerned, to bishops and consistories. The lat- 
ter maintain the constitution contained in conciliar decrees and 
Symbolical Books, appoint officials, and naturally claim the right 
both to demand faith and obedience from their officials as condi- 
tions for their tenure of office (182) and also strictojure to deprive 
of their office any who think they cannot fulfil these conditions. 

This spiritual state becomes a source of rights and duties quite 
independently of the civil state; and if one single matter, namely, 
entry into this [ecclesiastical] contract, is so determined that the 
length of time which anyone will remain in it is left dependent on 
his own option and that what he decides will not be binding on his 
posterity, then up to this point this ecclesiastical right (which 
might be called the church's "pure" right) 15 does not inherently 
contradict anyone's natural rights or detract from the rights of the 
state. 

Every Christian, each in his own congregation, enters this con- 
tract through the solemn act of baptism. But since duties and rights 
in the church are duties and rights of belief and opinion, an infant 
cannot cither enter the contract of his own free will or be pushed 
into it. Hence (i) godparents assume the duty of bringing up the 
child in the church's faith; and since the child shares in the bene- 
fits of the church before it has fulfilled its side of the contract of 
faith, while the church does not willingly dispense its benefits 
gratis, the child has a right to them only because it will fulfil its 
corresponding duties in the future, and so the godparents stand 
surety or go bail to the church and undertake so to educate the child 
from the start that it will in due course fulfil its part of the con- 
tract, (ii) In some Protestant states the rite of what is called "Con- 
firmation" has been introduced. By this ceremony the child renews 
his baptismal vows, i.e., in his fourteenth or fifteenth year he enters 
the contract with the church of his own free will and thus solemnly 
performs what the baptismal witnesses could only promise. But, in 
making this arrangement, the church has also taken care that the 
child shall have heard of nothing save the church's faith, and it has 

15. [See below, p. 107.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

declared the intelligence and the judgments of a fourteen-year-old 
child to be those of an adult. It assumes that his generally unintelli- 
gent repetition of the articles of faith expresses the free choice of 
an intellect which has made a ripe decision commensurate with the 
importance of the matter in question, namely, his eternal salvation, 
whereas the civil state postpones until the age of twenty to twenty- 
five the attainment of one's majority and the capacity to perform 
valid civil actions, even though these concern matters which are 
only dung in comparison with those at issue in the decision taken at 
Confirmation. 

The church as a state takes care to have children educated in its 
faith because they are to become its members. Parents claim the 
right to have their children educated in whatever faith they wish, 
but in the ecclesiastical contract they have so far renounced this 
right, not against the children, but against the church, that they 
have pledged themselves to have them educated in the church's 
faith; and the church fulfils its duty by filling the child's empty 
imagination (183) with its imagery, and his memory, if not his in- 
tellect, with its concepts, and by leading his tender heart through 
the gamut of feelings which it ordains : 

Is not all that's done to children done by force, 
Except, I mean, what churches do to them? 16 

Not content with this pure type of ecclesiastical right, the 
church has for long past linked itself with the state, and this has 
given rise to a mixed ecclesiastical right, just as there are now few 
states in which civil rights have remained pure. Both principles (the 
civil and the ecclesiastical) are independent sources of duties and 
rights. In respect of the legislative power, the two are by nature in- 
compatible, and therefore there is always a status in statu; how- 
ever much the Protestants have fought against the name ["state"], 
they have never defended anything so gloriously and so vigorously 
as the thing itself. In respect of the executive power, the Catholic 
church claims here too its complete independence of the temporal 

16. [Lessing, Nathan der Weise, IV, 2, 2540-43 (Nohl).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

state and withdraws from it into its own jurisdiction its officials and 
vergers, etc., but the Protestant church has subordinated itself to 
the state in this matter to a greater extent. But in cases where the 
church's and the state's rights collide, most states have given in, 
and have had to sacrifice their rights, to the Protestant as well as to 
the Catholic church. 

[ 22.] CONFLICT BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE [: (a) IN 
MATTERS AFFECTING CIVIL RIGHTS GENERALLY] 

a) Civil laws affect every citizen's security of person and prop- 
erty, and this has nothing at all to do with his religious opinions. 
Thus, whatever his faith, it is the state's duty to protect his rights 
as a citizen, and, so far as the state is concerned, he can lose these 
only by infringing the rights of others. In that event the state vindi- 
cates against him the maxims which he expresses himself and 
treats him accordingly. So far as his faith is concerned, he cannot 
bind himself to anything against the state, for the state is incapable 
of making or accepting conditions of that kind. 

On the other hand, however, all members of this state are united 
in a church, and as a society it has the right to exclude anyone who 
will not consent to its laws. Now the citizen who does not adopt, or 
who forsakes, the church's faith claims from the state as a right the 
capacity to enjoy civil rights; but the church excludes him from its 
fellowship, and, since it comprises the entire (184) state, from the 
state as well. In these circumstances whose right prevails? The 
state's or the church's? The former has assumed the duty of pro- 
tecting the good citizen (we may and will assume that a citizen 
may be good so far as the civil law is concerned, whatever his faith) 
in his rights, and at the same time it cannot meddle with faith; while 
the latter has the right to exclude a dissenter from its fellowship 
and therefore it excludes him from the state as well. 

In the vast majority of countries, Catholic and Protestant alike, 
the ecclesiastical state has made its rights prevail against the civil 
state; and in them no dissenter can obtain civil rights or enjoy that 
protection of the law in civil and criminal cases which a citizen 

[108] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

enjoys. He cannot acquire real estate of any sort; he cannot hold 
any public office; he is even subject to differential treatment in the 
matter of taxation. Things have even gone so far that baptism is not 
a purely ecclesiastical act whereby the child enters the church; it is 
also a civil act whereby the existence of the child is made known to 
the state and whereby such rights as the church will allow are 
claimed for the child. Consequently, the national church compels 
the father who dissents from its faith to have his child baptized 
by one of its officers according to its forms. The church does not 
do this as a sign of its adoption of the child, since it hands it over to 
its father after the ceremony to be brought up in his religion. The 
church's action is purely and simply a proof that it has deprived 
the state of its right to admit citizens, because if the child of an 
adherent of the prevailing church is baptized, he is eo if so received 
into both church and state simultaneously. The same sort of thing 
also occurs in marriage, which in many countries is valid only if the 
ceremony is performed by an officer of the prevailing church. In 
this instance the church is performing a civil action, not intruding 
on the performance of a ceremony in connection with the other 
faith to which the bride and bridegroom adhere. 

In this way the civil state has yielded its right and its office to 
the church, not only where the two conflict but also in bilateral ac- 
tions 17 where the sanction of both is required. The attitude thus 
adopted to the state by the church is similar to the one adopted by 
the corporations with their rights. These too form a society within 
the state; their members cede certain rights to the society and on 
entering it assume certain duties. A corporation of this kind com- 
prises all who ply the same trade in a town, and it has the right that 
any society has of admitting whom it will and excluding anyone 
(185) who does not conform to its rules. Now the state, on the 
other hand, has the duty of protecting any citizen who wants to earn 
his livelihood in his own way, whatever way it be, provided he 
does not contravene the civil laws, and these in themselves cannot 
determine corporation matters. But if a corporation does not allow 

17. [E.g., marriage. See Hegel's Philosophy of Right 164.] 

[109] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

a man to ply his chosen trade, i.e., if it excludes him from its mem- 
bership, it excludes him in effect from the whole community at the 
same time, deprives him of a right granted him by the state, and 
prevents him from exercising a civil right. In this matter too the 
state has sacrificed the rights of its citizens. 

Again if the state wishes to use anyone for the education of its 
young people, it has the right to appoint him to office as a teacher 
if it finds him suitable. But the members of every branch of learned 
study have united into a corporation, and a corporation claims the 
right to admit or reject according to whether its rules are accepted 
or not. And if a man whom the state thought qualified to be a teach- 
er were not a member of this corporation, then by being thus ex- 
cluded from it he would be to that extent excluded from the state as 
well, and for this reason the state has renounced its right and is 
compelled to appoint to office as teachers only those who have 
graduated as masters (magistri or doctores) in the corporation ap- 
propriate to their branch of study. Alternatively it at least compels 
an official thus unqualified to enrol himself in the appropriate cor- 
poration after his appointment; he may not be inclined to do so, but 
the corporation will still claim its right and for this reason it makes 
him a present of his master's degree, an honor which he cannot very 
well decline unless out of pure eccentricity. 

In modern times certain Catholic governments have granted civil 
rights to non-Catholics, allowed them to appoint their own priests, 
and build their own churches. This is regarded from two points of 
view : on the one hand, it is praised as magnanimous toleration, but, 
on the other hand, there is a claim that the words "toleration" and 
"indulgence" are out of place here, because what has been done is 
no more than justice. Now this contradiction may be resolved if we 
hold that so far as the state is concerned the grant of these rights is 
incontestably simply the removal of a great injustice and thus was a 
duty; while so far as ihe church is concerned, this grant is in every 
case an indulgence, since the church has the right to exclude dis- 
senters from the state, if not, as it used to claim and still does in 
some places, from air, earth, and water. And if the state demands it 

[110] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

as a duty that the rights of dissenters shall be respected, the officials 
of the indulgent church (even if it be a Protestant church) always 
speak of the consideration, sympathy, and love which ought to be 
shown to those who err, and so of sentiments which cannot be com- 
manded as duties, but which ought to be felt toward such people of 
one's own free will. 

[ 23. (b) IN MATTERS AFFECTING PROPERTY] 

(186) b) For celebrating their worship and for giving instruc- 
tion in religious matters, all congregations require special build- 
ings, special teachers, and certain other persons [e.g., vergers, 
etc.]. For erecting the buildings, for maintaining both fabrics and 
officials, and for embellishing the many properties required in 
divine services, the whole people has made individual free-will 
offerings and contributions. The buildings erected and the fixed 
stipends and incomes of the teachers and other servants of the 
church are thus the property of the congregations, of the people 
generally, and not of the state. Yet they are almost always regarded 
as state property in so far as the nation forms a single ecclesiastical 
state (or in so far as numerous congregations within it are united 
to form one). This distinction (i.e., whether churches and the in- 
comes of ministers are the property of the state in its civil or in its 
ecclesiastical aspect) is of no importance, and indeed hardly arises, 
so long as there is only one church in the state; but it leaps to the 
eye and occasions strife as soon as different churches establish them- 
selves there. 

Once a church gains ground, it claims a share in this state prop- 
erty for reasons drawn from civil rights, and the state is bound both 
to allow religious bodies, whatever their faith, to have churches for 
their worship and also to appoint teachers to suit them. But the 
church which has been dominant up to that time claims its rights 
over what it regards as its property, a property conveyed to it in 
the past and never disputed. If the state has strength enough to 
maintain its right, and if the authorities are intelligent, disinterested, 

[mi 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

and just enough to recognize this as a state right and to be ready to 
maintain it, then the state will grant to every church according to 
its needs the means to worship in its own way. 

Now a state, as a civil state, should have no faith at all; nor 
should its legislators and rulers, in their capacity as such. But it 
commonly happens that, as members of the dominant church, they 
have laid upon them by the church the duty of protecting the rights 
of that church; and strife between the two churches is generally 
settled not by constitutional law but by force on the one side and 
acceptance of the inevitable on the other. If the church which is 
getting a footing in the state expands to such an extent that the 
rights of the church it is opposing can only be upheld and main- 
tained by the extinction of the new doctrine's adherents or at least 
by great acts of violence and at huge expense, then the consequence 
of maintaining those rights would be far too great a disaster for the 
state and too serious an affront to its laws and rights. In these cir- 
cumstances the state calls its danger to mind and cedes certain 
rights to the new church, but, in doing so, uses the language of the 
church and calls (187) this "toleration." Alternatively, if the dis- 
pute is otherwise composed, i.e., if the church hitherto oppressed 
becomes dominant and the one hitherto dominant now becomes the 
one merely tolerated, then the state usually enters into a similar as- 
sociation with the church now dominant and maintains the rights 
of that church just as unreservedly as hitherto it had maintained 
those of the other. 

It is plain from this, as from the foregoing, that when many 
acute historians have remarked that every church has been unmind- 
ful of those past sufferings the memory of which ought to have made 
it tolerant, and to our astonishment has become intolerant in its 
turn once it has become dominant, their comment is not simply a 
casual inference, drawn from history and experience, but one 
which follows inevitably and of necessity from the right which 
any church possesses. This right consists in the right of any soci- 
ety to exclude from its membership those who do not conform to 
its laws and regulations. Thus, when a church, i.e., an ecclesiastical 

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POSIT IVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

society, becomes dominant in a state, it claims its right, excludes 
dissenters from its fellowship and therefore from the state as well, 
and treats any nondominant church intolerantly in matters alike of 
faith and property. 

In relation to church property this course of events has been 
visible both in the early expansion of the Christian church and also 
in the expansion of every new sect within that church. At the start, 
Christians met in private houses; then at their own expense they 
built special buildings for worship; but as they became dominant, 
the church asserted its rights, destroyed the heathen temples, and 
took them into its own possession even at a time when the majority 
in a town or a commune were still heathen. A commune which had 
become wholly Christian had a right in law to do this. Julian main- 
tained the ecclesiastical and legal rights of the heathen and deprived 
the Christians of the temples they had taken from them. The 
Protestants used for their worship the churches which had been 
Catholic hitherto and appropriated at will the incomes of the mon- 
asteries and clergy. The civil law gave them a right to do this, and 
they were also asserting their own ecclesiastical rights, but they 
thereby infringed the ecclesiastical rights of the Catholics. The 
Catholic church still always claims these rights, regards the 
Protestant churches, bishoprics, monasteries, and revenues as de 
jure its property, and consistently with this has its own bishops and 
abbots in parti bus. 

Two ecclesiastical rights cannot be legally adjusted, because 
they stand in downright and irreconcilable contradiction with one 
another; they can be adjusted only by force or else by the state. In 
the latter event the state (188) must be conceded a higher right 
than the church's; the Catholic church has never conceded this at 
all, and concessions by the Protestant church are limited to certain 
matters only. In so far as the latter concedes something to the state, 
it sacrifices part of its own rights, and this is from its point of view 
an act of grace. 

A man who abandons his national church cuts himself off from 
his country and loses his civil liberties. It might seem harsh and 

[113] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

unjust to follow this procedure, to persecute a man because of his 
faith, to deprive him of the enjoyment of his civil rights, and to ban- 
ish him from everything which nature and custom have made dear. 
But that this is no injustice the church proves by using the language 
not only of justice but magnanimity: it has not stood in the way of 
his changing his faith; it respects his liberty, his decision to leave 
the church; but because, as he knows full well, a condition of his 
eligibility for enjoying civil rights in this country is membership of 
the church, and because this condition is now unfulfilled owing to 
his change of faith, no injustice whatever has been done to him; he 
has in these matters a free choice between alternatives. If exclusion 
from the church meant exclusion from the church only, then the 
church would only have been excluding someone who had already 
resigned; but the church excludes him from the state at the same 
time, and the state accepts this infringement of its rights, so that 
state and church have to this extent dissolved into one. 

[ 24. (c) IN MATTERS AFFECTING EDUCATION] 

c) Every man enters the world possessed of more than the right 
to the maintenance of his physical life; he also has the right to de- 
velop his faculties, i.e., to become a man. This right imposes on his 
parents and on the state a duty which they divide between them, 
namely, the duty of educating him appropriately. Even apart from 
this duty, the state's strongest interest would lie in so training the 
youthful hearts of its embryo citizens that in due course honor and 
profit would accrue to it from their manhood. Now the state has 
believed that it had no better or more natural means of fulfilling 
this duty and attaining this end than intrusting all or most of the 
responsibility for this matter to the church. The result has been 
that in the interest of the church, as well as the state, trouble has 
long been taken to bring up the young citizens to be citizens of the 
church as well. But whether this method of education has or has 
not jeopardized the young citizen's right to the free development of 
his powers is a matter which wholly depends on the way in which 
the church discharges its educational task. 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

The rights of the children (at any rate, their rights as persons) 
are rights which the state has made its own and has protected in 
consequence, and this has given the state the right to train the chil- 
dren in its moral maxims and to suit its own ends. The church claims 
precisely the same right because it lets the children (189) enjoy its 
benefits from the start. Thus in due course it makes them adroit 
in the performance of their duties to the church, and it so 
educates them that this performance coincides with their inclina- 
tion. 

Now if a citizen finds, once his intellect has reached maturity, 
that the laws or other institutions of his country do not suit him, he 
is at full liberty, in most European states, to emigrate. His depend- 
ence on the laws of his country is grounded on this freely chosen 
decision to live under them. However greatly this decision may be 
influenced by habit or by fear, these influences still cannot annul 
the possibility of free choice. But if the church has achieved so 
much by its educational methods that it has either wholly subdued 
reason and intellect in religious speculation or else so filled the 
imagination with terrors that reason and intellect cannot and dare 
not venture on consciousness of their freedom or on the use of that 
freedom in religious matters as well as others, then the church has 
entirely taken away the possibility of a free choice and a decision to 
belong to it, although it can and will base its claims on a man only 
on such a choice. It has infringed the child's natural right to the 
free development of his faculties and brought him up as a slave in- 
stead of as a free citizen. In any education the child's heart and 
imagination are affected by the force of early impressions and the 
power exercised by the example of those persons who are dearest 
to him and linked with him by elementary natural ties, though rea- 
son is not of necessity fettered by these influences. The church, 
however, not only uses these influences but in addition educates the 
child to believe in the faith, i.e., reason and intellect are not so 
trained as to be led to develop their own native principles or to 
judge what they hear by their own standards; on the contrary, the 
ideas and words engraved on imagination and memory are so girt 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

with terrors and placed by commands in such a holy, inviolable, and 
blinding light that either they dumbfound the laws of reason and 
intellect by their brilliance and prevent their use, or else they pre- 
scribe to reason and intellect laws of another kind. By this legisla- 
tion ab extra, reason and intellect are deprived of freedom, i.e., of the 
ability to follow the laws native to them and grounded in their na- 
ture. Freedom to choose whether to enter the church or not has 
vanished. However well-intentioned, the state has betrayed the 
child's right to a free development of its mental capacities. 

The expedient of bringing up children without the positive faith 
(190) of any church in order to insure freedom of choice in their 
riper years is one whose execution would involve countless diffi- 
culties; but we need not think of these because there are moral rea- 
sons why it ought to be renounced. For one thing, the church is in 
duty bound to declare it a crime to leave children in such ignorance 
in matters of faith; for another, it would be extremely laborious for 
it to make good later what had been missed in youth, because in 
later life it is hardly possible so effectively to impress the faith on 
the marrow of the soul or to twine it round every branch of human 
thought and capacity, every branch of human endeavor and will. 
This is why, when the Patriarch in Nathan 1 * hears that the Jew has 
reared the girl not in his own faith so much as in none at all and 
taught her neither more nor less of God than reason alone requires, 
he is most indignant and declares: "The Jew deserves a threefold 
death at the stake. What? To let a child grow up without any faith! 
To fail to teach a child the great duty of belief? Why, that's hei- 
nous." 

The hope of converting to the faith of another church a man 
whose intellect has been habituated to the duty of belief from youth 
upward is far more likely to be realized than the hope of inculcating 
belief and allegiance to the requisite religious opinions for the first 
time in a man whose imagination has always been left free from the 
church's imagery and his intellect from its fetters. 

18. [Lessing, Nathan der Weisc, IV, 2, 2555-64 (Nohl).] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

[ 25. Two INCIDENTAL REMARKS ABOUT CHURCH AND 
STATE RELATIONS] 

Two remarks may be added, (i) Although the man who wishes 
to be a citizen of a Christian state must adopt the faith of his coun- 
try, a convert to the church does not eo ipso become a citizen of the 
state, for the natural reason that the church has a wider scope than 
the state, and the latter everywhere maintains independent rights 
of its own. (What was the position of the proselyti portae 19 among 
the Hebrews?) 

(ii) The contract on which a church is based concerns faith and 
opinion. In the Protestant church, especially in recent times, free- 
dom in these matters is so much greater than it is in the Catholic 
church that there is no comparison between the two. But in both 
churches the rights issuing from this contract are strictly upheld. 
The Catholic church keeps a watch over the minutest details of 
opinion; but everyone knows that in the Protestant church the faith 
of the most learned and respectable theologians is not at all the 
same as the one in the Symbolical (191) Books, i.e., the one they 
have signed or adopted on oath. Moreover, it is almost always true 
that other officials in the civil state have very little acquaintance 
with the doctrines in those Books, which they likewise have to 
sign. For example, if a man does not share the orthodox opinion 
about baptism, or if he thinks quite differently about the principal 
points in Protestant dogmatics, no questions are asked, even if he 
has published the fact in books or elsewhere. But if he wished to 
be logical and not to have his child baptized, or not to sign the 
Articles on assuming his official post, then though the church had 
made no protest against his opinions, it would make him take 
the natural consequences of his action and would insist on its 
rights. 

19. ["Proselytes of the gate" were Gentiles who adopted some of the Jew- 
ish observances but, unlike the "proselytes of righteousness," were not fully 
adopted into the covenant of Abraham.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

[ 26.] THE ECCLESIASTICAL CONTRACT: REPRESENTATION AND 
THE POWER OF THE ClTIZENS IN MATTERS OF DOCTRINE 

We come now to the contract itself on which the church's 
rights rest. The original rights of princes might rest on the rights of 
the conqueror who spared the lives of the conquered on condition of 
their obedience; and on this original contract between victor and 
vanquished the rights of the descendants of those princes might be 
grounded, though they would now be held by right of inheritance, 
not conquest. On this sort of theory (whether tenable or not we 
need not here inquire) the subjection of the individual's will to his 
sovereign's would also rest on that same contract. In any event, 
this much at least is true that however civil society and the rights 
of its rulers and legislators may have arisen, its very nature implies 
that within it the individual's rights have become rights of the 
state, that the state is bound to uphold and protect the individual's 
rights as its own. But when we come to the rights which the church 
possesses as a state, there is no room for doubt that its contract and 
its rights (in their original formation, if not later) are grounded 
solely in the freely willed consent of all individuals. In this ecclesi- 
astical state the general will, i.e., the majority vote, is expressed as 
laws of faith, and the society binds itself to protect this faith, each 
member contracting for all, and all for each. It is (a) for organizing 
and ordering the general assembly in which these laws are made, 
and (b) for protecting these doctrinal laws through public worship 
and especially through education of every kind, that the ecclesiasti- 
cal state needs officials and has appointed them. 

Now in regard to one of these points, the unanimous acceptance 
of one faith, it makes an enormous difference whether the ecclesias- 
tical contract is interpreted in such a way that the church's unity is 
regarded as arising automatically from a correspondence in the 
faith of all individuals, so that the (192) general faith is solely an 
expression of the faith of all, or whether the general faith is deter- 
mined in part by a majority vote and whether its determination in 
this way is assumed to be possible. The latter principle is solemnly 
accepted by the Catholic church, because Church Councils are 

[118] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

granted supreme power to decide in the last resort what the faith 
of the church is, and it is the irremissible duty of any temporary 
minority to submit to the majority vote. In any such Council the 
members are present partly as representatives of their flock, part- 
ly, and indeed chiefly, as church officials. Their full authority is of 
course supposed to arise from their being representatives, but 
though for many centuries the people had the right to choose their 
own representatives and officials, they lost it long ago. Thus church 
officials, nominated by other officials, or in part by a body equally 
independent of the people, constitute the Church Council, and all 
of them form a self-complete organization which manages, fixes, 
and controls the faith of the people, i.e., of the laity, and the laity 
is not allowed to have the slightest influence on it any longer. The 
matters with which the church is concerned are not person and prop- 
erty, which are capable of protection by force, but opinion and 
faith; and it is absolutely contrary to the nature of opinion that an 
individual should subject it, something his own, to a majority vote. 
To subject his will to the general will and to regard the latter as his 
law is a possibility in the civil contract, but it is totally impossible 
to produce an ecclesiastical contract (i.e., one about faith) in this 
way. In fact, a contract about faith is inherently impossible, and if 
nonetheless it is made, it is totally null and void. 20 

If the Council consists of members who are representatives in 
fact as well as in name, i.e., who are really chosen by the congre- 
gations as such, then no authority can be given them on appoint- 
ment except to state what the faith of the congregation is and what 
articles it regards as the cardinal points or conditions which other 
congregations must share before it is prepared to regard itself as 

20. [Hegel's argument is as follows: If for the sake of protecting their per- 
son and property from encroachment by one another, X contracts with Y to ac- 
cept the rule of Z, they both grant Z the power to coerce should either of them 
seek to encroach on the other's rights; and Z's authority may be regarded as 
grounded in this civil or social contract. But men cannot make a contract of this 
kind for the preservation of their faith, because as reasonable beings they have 
a right to change their minds, and any coercive attempt to prevent them from 
doing so, e.g., by playing on their fears or by miseducating them, is inherently 
wrong. Hence any attempt to ground ecclesiastical authority on a contract 
must fail.] 

[119] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

associated with them in a single church. To give them authority to 
determine the congregation's faith on their own judgment, and to 
subject it to a majority vote, would be to build a representative re- 
public totally in contradiction to man's right not to subject his opin- 
ions to an alien authority, and would put men in the same position as 
they would be under the contract just considered, i.e., under a con- 
stitution which might be called a pure democracy. 

(193) Now the church was in fact a representative republic of 
this kind in the early centuries of its expansion, and we can see in 
it a remarkable conflict between (a) the principle that each individ- 
ual congregation and its representatives had freedom of opinion, 
and (b) the principle that it is a duty to subject one's self to a ma- 
jority vote. What happened was that, if there were dissensions, as 
we all know there were at every period, both parties appealed to a 
free General Council, and their very desire for this presupposed 
the principle that it was a duty to bow to the majority. Each party 
hoped to gain the day by its cogent reasonings and argumentations, 
or still more by its intrigues and the aid of force. The victorious 
party then required the application of this principle, i.e., the minor- 
ity's submission, but the latter generally had recourse to the other 
principle and made an outcry against the violence contemplated to 
the liberty of their convictions. Very frequently on these occasions 
there were special combinations for securing the end in view, and 
the members of these now constituted a single artificial person; 
thus the conciliar decisions could not be regarded as the decisions 
of a free majority, since they were rather the victory of a faction 
which availed itself of deceit and every kind of violence to gain its 
point and foully maltreated the defeated party as rebels. One such 
Church Council of clergy was called a band of robbers by its op- 
ponents, and Mosheim* merely adds the remark that this harsh ex- 
pression had not been used of many other Church Councils which 
deserved the description equally well. 

But since the time when the laity lost the right even to be repre- 

* Historia ecclesiastic^ saec. v, pars ii, c. 5, 14. [The "band of robbers" was 
the Second Council of Ephesus (449) .] 

[120] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

sented in discussions about the faith, i.e., since the time when the 
bishops and leaders of the Christian church became officials pure 
and simple, the laws of the faith have been made entirely by its 
rulers, and it may be more or less a matter of indifference, not in- 
deed to the bishops, but to the people, whether its doctrinal ruler 
and judge is a single person, the Pope, or a group of persons inde- 
pendent of the people, whether its spiritual constitution is a mon- 
archy or an aristocracy; in either case the people's rights are equal- 
ly great, equally null. To waste words on the justice of such a gov- 
ernment or constitution in matters of faith would be wholly futile. 

It is the fundamental principle of the Protestant church that its 
contract shall rest on the unanimity of all its members, that no one 
shall be required to enter an ecclesiastical contract whose terms 
insist on his subjecting his faith to a majority (194) vote. At the 
start of his great work, Luther did appeal to a free General Coun- 
cil, but the great foundation of Protestant freedom, the Palladium 
of the Protestant church, was discovered when men refused to ap- 
pear at a Council and repudiated all part in its proceedings, not be- 
cause they were assured in advance of losing their case there, but 
because it would contradict the very nature of religious opinions to 
decide them by majority vote, and because everyone has the right 
to settle for himself what his faith is. Thus the faith of every in- 
dividual Protestant must be his faith because it is his, not because 
it is the church's. He is a member of the Protestant church because 
he has freely joined it and freely remained in it. All the rights which 
the church has over him rest solely on the fact that its faith is also 
his faith. 

So long as the Protestant church upheld this principle underlying 
its "pure" ecclesiastical right and remained faithful to it with un- 
shakable tenacity throughout all its actions in delineating its legal 
code or constitution in matters of faith, no accusation of injustice 
could be raised against it. But the teachers who founded it and the 
officials whom it appointed and about whom something further will 
be said later, 21 have sometimes tried to look on themselves and to 

21. [See below, 28.] 

[121] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

act as more than mere representatives of their congregation, in- 
trusted solely with the declaration of their congregation's will. 
They have tried to regard their authority as more extensive and to 
hold that the congregations have left it to their judgment to decide 
among themselves what the church's faith is. This is clear from the 
fact that a large number of statements in the Symbolical Books of 
the Protestant church are so framed and so packed with subtleties 
that they cannot be regarded as opinions validated through the con- 
sent of the whole people but are solely the work of hair-splitting 
theologians. It is common knowledge too from the history of how 
some of these writings have arisen and been accepted as a norm of 
the faith that the matter has been transacted almost entirely by 
theologians. The only laymen who have had any share in it have 
been those who were in power and who were needed to create and 
insure adequate authority for these Books. 

Two points may be adduced in justification of the theologians in 
this matter: (a) It is alleged that they had to give a more scholarly 
form to the Symbolical Books and a sharper definition to many of 
their doctrines simply to satisfy their own members in face of the 
Catholic church, which fought with similar weapons, (b) It is fur- 
ther alleged that the less scholarly could allow their doctrines to be 
treated in this way by the theologians of their church without 
thereby impairing their (195) immutable rights in the slightest. 

But as for (a), it may always be said on the other side that the 
theologians could have kept their more learned proofs and their 
more subtle distinctions for their own publications without doing 
any harm to their church. Their task in the main was only to justify 
their own faith, and the people's faith could not be justified in its 
eyes by reasons it did not understand. If the Symbolical Books had 
had a simpler form, they would not have had so polemical an aspect 
and would have looked more like a criterion of the faith. In that 
case they would have accorded with the solemn principle of the 
Protestant church, since they would have been recognizable by the 
people's own judgment as its faith. This would have been all the 
better, in that the weapons which do good service in one age be- 

[122] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

come useless in the next. For this reason the pedantic form of the 
Symbolical Books, from which proofs were drawn by scholars and 
never by the people, has now become valueless, since our contem- 
porary theologians no longer justify their faith by reference to it. 
The people never needed these weapons, and now even the learned 
despise them. 

b) The second point which may be alleged in justification of 
theologians who determine the people's faith without reference to 
them is this : They may say that in connection with the Books con- 
taining the Protestant church's faith they have acted only as inter- 
preters of the standard faith adopted by the people themselves in 
the past before the Books were prepared, and this office of inter- 
preter could have been conferred on them without any detriment 
to the people's right of determining their own faith. Now, to be 
sure, if only one sense can be ascribed to the interpreted passages of 
the standard faith, no criticism can be raised against their acting as 
interpreters in this way. But if a doctrine is susceptible of two or 
more interpretations and the theologians have adopted one of them, 
or again if they have drawn the logical inferences from a single 
sentence with the strictest accuracy and set up these inferences as 
church doctrines, then they have acted despotically. To know 
which of two possible interpretations accords with the church's 
mind, it is first necessary to ask the church, and the same is true 
about the inferences, because it is a sound critical canon (though one 
little observed, especially in controversies) that however strictly 
certain inferences may follow from a system, it ought not to be 
assumed straight away for this reason that an adherent of the sys- 
tem also avows what is thus inferred. 

In matters of faith there is in strictness no social contract. A 
man may certainly bind himself to respect the faith of (196) others 
along with their property rights, but it is properly a civil obligation 
to respect another's right to freedom in his faith. A man cannot 
bind himself, still less his posterity, to will to believe anything. In 
the last resort every contract rests on the will (but a will to believe 
is an impossibility), and the church's faith must in the strictest 

[123] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

sense be the universal faith of this church, i.e., the faith of all its 
individual members. 

[ 27.] CONTRACT WITH THE STATE 

A society of people, or a state, or a group of states, may consti- 
tute a church. 22 If such a society or state or group of states makes a 
contract either with another society (which to that extent is an- 
other state even though the contracting parties stand connected 
with each other in other respects) or else with the members of 
its own [society or] state, then for its own part at least it has 
acted unwisely. It has linked to faith, and so to something change- 
able, the condition under which the other party is to fulfil its side of 
the contract. If it insists on the other party's fulfilling its duty, then 
owing to the form of the contract it has put itself in danger of deny- 
ing the first and most sacrosanct right of every individual and every 
society, namely, the right to change one's convictions; if, on the 
other hand, it changes its own faith, then the other's duty vanishes 
because it depended solely on the faith's remaining unchanged. The 
state and church soon arrange matters satisfactorily with their own 
members should these all change their faith en masse; Protestant 
townsmen and peasants still pay the same taxes, rents, tithes, and 
countless other petty exactions as they paid to the Catholic church 
in the past. They have to contribute to the worship of the present 
church because money is still needed for establishing and maintain- 
ing it. To make presents to a church or to concede rights to it on 
condition that it remains the same would be exactly like proposing 
to beautify a place by a river on condition that the ripples which 
wash the place now shall always remain exactly the same. 

This is all true enough; but what about going on paying for 
candles for these altars where they are no longer burned or used, 
or going on making these payments to this monastery where there 
are now neither prelates nor monks? These and countless other 
prerogatives and onera were intended purely and simply for the 

22. [See below, p. 127. Hegel is thinking of the German states where the peo- 
ple were required to follow the religious faith of the ruler under the principle of 
the Peace of Augsburg : Cuius regio eius religio.] 

[124] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

worship and faith of the Catholic church, and with its disappearance 
there also inevitably disappeared the rights grounded in it. The 
dues which must be paid to the new church have been regarded as 
based on the same rights as in the old church and have been levied 
to the same extent, and the result, to say the least, is the retention 
of a great disparity, which cannot be called fair, in the dues payable 
by members of one church. If the obligation on the contributors, 
the fee-holders, and villeins is supposed to (197) rest today on the 
fact of their subjection to precisely this abbey, this monastery, this 
parish, and their consequent obligation to pay these dues, 23 and if 
the present church is supposed to have come to enjoy the benefits of 
this obligation by taking over the property and rights of the old 
church, still this obligation was not owed to individuals or even to 
the buildings of this abbey, etc. It was owed to individuals only in 
their capacity as members or officials of the Catholic church, i.e., 
to the church itself; and, since the contributors no longer belong 
to that church (because the Catholic church no longer exists here) , 
it follows that the rights arising from that church and bound up 
with it ought to have disappeared also. 

If, for example, some Catholics were left in a country which had 
accepted the Reformation, would it be right still to demand from 
them the same dues as before? Would it be right for the state to 
exact them? Surely not, because as citizens the Catholics pay other 
taxes to the state, and these ecclesiastical dues were never state 
property. Then would it be right for the new church to make these 
exactions? Hardly, because the Catholics could rightly maintain 
that their obligations were solely to the old church and that, since 
they did not belong to the new church, they were not bound to 
contribute anything to it. The same sort of thing occurs in many 
Catholic countries, e.g., in the Austrian states, where, especially 
since the toleration edicts of Joseph II, it has given rise to many 
disputes and difficulties. Are the non-Catholics bound to pay the 
same dues as they previously paid to the Catholic church or to pay 

23. [The German text is doubtful. The version given depends on reading 
warm for war.] 

[125] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

for baptism, confirmation, and the support of the numerous re- 
quirements of Catholic worship the same fees as they were obliged 
to pay in the past? No, say the Protestants, on the ground that they 
do not belong to the Catholic church, and what was paid in the past 
was paid to the church. Yes, say the Catholics, on the ground that 
Protestants still owe the same dues as previously to this parish or 
this monastery, whatever church they belong to. In this instance 
the Protestants argue from the opposite principles to those their 
church insists on in respect of its own members, and the Catholics 
from the same principles which the Protestant church always 
avows in relation to its own affairs. 

The same inconveniences arise if a church (in its capacity as a 
church with a fixed faith) makes contractual arrangements with 
other states. If it intends to impose something as a duty on the 
other contracting party, it has attached this duty to something 
which it has the right to alter, while at the same time it requires 
that the other's duty shall remain unchanged. Thus the Protestants 
have purchased with their blood such modifications in the constitu- 
tion of the Empire as secured for them liberty in their faith and 
their worship, but in all the peace treaties the agreement is so 
framed that the Catholic princes have assumed the duty of protect- 
ing the worship and property of the evangelical and reformed 
church. Now the essence of the Protestant churches (198) has been 
solemnly promulgated in their confessions and creeds. These 
agreements have thus been made with churches whose faith is 
quite specific, and for this reason Piderit, 24 if I am not mistaken, 
argued many years ago to the great scandal of Protestants as fol- 
lows: The Protestant faith is no longer the same as it used to be, 
and this is clear from a comparison between the Protestant Sym- 
bolical Books and the publications of Protestant leaders and their 
most famous theologians. Consequently, they can no longer de- 
mand the rights assured to them by the Catholics in the peace 
treaties, because the agreement was made with a church which had 

24. [J. R. A. Piderit, Emleitung und Entivurf einer Rcligionsvcrc'migung 
(1781) (Nohl).] 

[126] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

promulgated its specific faith. If the Protestants still wish to insist 
on the same rights, then they must retain the original faith of the 
church, renounce their right to change it, and cancel any alterations 
that may have been made. 

The argument is logical enough; but it would have been an im- 
possible one, and the Protestants would not have seemed to fetter 
their liberty to improve their faith (a liberty which no contracts 
can destroy), if the [Protestant and Catholic] princes who made the 
peace treaties had made them as princes, as heads of their states, in- 
stead of as heads or members of a church and with the aid of 
theologians (who were always at hand and pleased with their 
importance in being so), i.e., if they had made these agreements for 
their states instead of for their churches. 

To be true to one's faith and to be free in the practice of one's 
religion is a right in which the individual must be protected, not 
primarily as a church member, but as a citizen; and a prince in his 
capacity as such has a duty to secure this right to his subjects. And 
the [Protestant] princes could have demanded no diviner right than 
this (a right imposing on them the corresponding duty), and they 
obtained it, but alas, only by conquest. Instead of the agreements 
being expressed as at present, i.e., that "the Reformed and Luther- 
an church shall have legal freedom of worship in the German Em- 
pire," they would have been better drawn if their terms had im- 
posed on the Catholic princes the duty of doing nothing to dis- 
turb or impair the freedom of religious worship in Brandenburg, 
Saxony, etc. If reference had also been made to the Brandenburgian 
or the Saxon church, this would have amounted to the same thing, 
because "church" here means a state that adheres to a faith, which 
faith does not matter. If this had been done, then after centuries of 
barbarity and after years marked by streams of blood shed for this 
right to believe, we would have had the satisfaction of seeing in 
national agreements the solemn recognition and unimpaired devel- 
opment of a fundamental article in the social contract, of a human 
right (199) which cannot be renounced by entry into any society 
whatsoever. 

[127] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

In recent times there has been a deep sense of anyone's right, 
and so of everyone's, i.e., of the church's right, to improve one's 
faith, to make progress in one's convictions. At the same time 
there has been a feeling that this right has been much prejudiced 
because all these agreements between the church and other states 
have been made to hang on the Symbolical Books. Further, it has 
been realized that the ecclesiastical state falls into all sorts of illogi- 
calities in connection with this eternal right if it thinks that within 
its own borders its entire contractual basis rests on certain symbols 
and thus comes to regard the energetic maintenance of a strict faith 
in these symbols as its duty. Actuated by these considerations, 
great men have claimed that the fundamental meaning of "Protes- 
tant" is a man or a church which has not bound itself to certain un- 
alterable standards of faith but which protests against all authority 
in matters of belief, against all engagements contradictory of that 
sacrosanct right. Had the church been prepared to content itself 
with this negative character, it would have had a twofold merit. 
It would have reminded the state of its duty to protect its subjects 
in their freedom of belief (a duty otherwise unappreciated by the 
state), and it would have defended in the state's place what the state 
had neglected. 

By making any contract affecting rights, which properly speak- 
ing are found in the civil state alone, the church would be doing an 
injustice to itself or to certain of its individual members, whether 
such a contract were made by each individual with the church or by 
the church with each or some of its individual members. This is 
not felt straight away, but it must become plain sooner or later, and 
then a citizen who leaves the church, and so loses his civil rights, 
claims these in vain from the state. The state has neglected to de- 
termine what its rights are, and, since it has let the church do this 
instead, it looks on these rights (which are its own) as the church's, 
and it upholds them purely on that basis, while the church, as was 
sufficient for its own ends, vindicated the universal right to free- 
dom in faith and worship only in an individual case, namely, its 
own. 

[128] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

The formation of a church, then, at any rate in matters of faith, 
cannot be regarded as a contract at all. If, on the other hand, a 
church, a union for a single purpose, arises automatically out of a 
general uniformity in faith, then this purpose may consist in de- 
fending and maintaining this faith, organizing the appropriate wor- 
ship, and producing in the members those qualities which accord 
with the church's ideal of perfection. 

[ 28. DEFENSE OF THE FAITH] 

(200) Now the defense and maintenance of the faith (which 
means defending not only the faith but also the free exercise of 
worship and the maintenance of other arrangements) is in strict- 
ness a state duty, and this defense and guaranty is necessarily com- 
prised in the social contract. Only in a badly organized state or, as 
I said just now, in one which has not appreciated this duty or vindi- 
cated for itself this right of defense, is it possible for its citizens, or 
some of them, to get into a position where they either have to main- 
tain this right on their own behalf by force or else not enjoy it 
at all. The Protestants found themselves in this position, and the 
princes who spoke courageously and fought bravely against an- 
other part of the imperial executive in defense of their subjects' 
right to the free exercise of their religion did so because it was 
their duty as princes. But I have spoken already of the inconven- 
iences resulting from the fact that, when they made peace and con- 
cluded treaties, they did this not as princes but as members or 
heads of a church. Thus since the defense of the faith against force 
and violence is a state duty which the church cannot perform, noth- 
ing is left for the church to do but to defend and maintain the faith 
against the church itself. 25 

If the faith to be defended is regarded as a universal faith, then 
any individual who deviated from it either as a whole or in single 
details would no longer be a member of the church; he would have 
renounced its benefits, and it would have no further rights against 

25. [I.e., against a church which may distort the faith by claiming infalli- 
bility for itself. See the following paragraph.] 

[129] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

him. If nonetheless it were still supposed to have a right over him in 
the sense that he was bound to submit to its teaching and obey its 
precepts about what he was to do or leave undone, this right could 
only be grounded on the assumption that, in contracting with the 
church, he had bound himself to trust and accept the guidance of a 
majority vote or the church's representatives on all future occasions 
when the true faith was to be determined. But this would mean as- 
cribing to the church a kind of infallibility, and to protest against 
an authority of that sort is the highest duty of a true Protestant. A 
dissenter in these circumstances would find himself in the same po- 
sition as a transgressor of the civil laws who is compelled by the 
authorities to respect them. But the ecclesiastical contract cannot 
be of this order; the church can regard its faith and its laws as 
valid only for the man who voluntarily accepts them and volun- 
tarily adjusts his faith and life in accordance with them. 

Only one possibility remains, namely, that the church's right is 
grounded on defending the faith which an individual has once pro- 
fessed (i.e., the general faith of the church), not because it is the 
faith of the church but because it was once the individual's faith, 
i.e., on defending the individual's faith against himself. In this case 
the dissenter (201) is not in the position of the spendthrift whose 
remaining property the state takes into its control and superin- 
tendence, because here the state is not defending the spendthrift's 
right against himself; it is defending the right of the heirs presump- 
tive or of the community which otherwise would have to maintain 
him. The dissenter in relation to the church is more like the lunatic 
whom the state is bound to adopt, for this, among other important 
reasons, that he cannot any longer himself vindicate his right to a 
sound mind and yet cannot for this reason be regarded as having re- 
nounced it; hence his relatives or the state undertake to bring him 
to his senses. In the same way the church too intends to vindicate 
every man's right to the church's faith. Only here the case is dif- 
ferent, because it depends on the individual whether he wishes to 
vindicate this right of his or not; unlike the lunatic, he cannot pos- 
sibly be regarded as not having renounced the enjoyment of this 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

right to a specific faith, nor can it be supposed to be the church's 
duty to reinstate him in this enjoyment nolens miens. Every indi- 
vidual must be treated [by the church] as an adult is treated by the 
state, i.e., as one on whose free choice the vindication or renuncia- 
tion of a right depends. These principles make plain what bounds 
there are to the church's duty of defending its faith within its own 
borders. 

This is not a duty which springs from another's right, a right 
into whose enjoyment he must at all costs be put. It is the church's 
duty only in so far as the church prescribes it to itself when it is 
full of the importance of its doctrines for mankind and full of a 
superabundant zeal for providing men with the blessings of those 
doctrines. Hence what it may do is to make arrangements whereby 
anyone to whom it wishes to extend its benefits is put in a position 
where he can acquire knowledge of them. The use of these means 
must depend on everyone's free choice, because to use the methods 
of compulsion or punishment would mean attempting to obtrude 
goodness by force as the Spaniards did in America or Charlemagne 
in Saxony. It is true that, in certain Protestant countries, failure to 
attend public worship and the Lord's Supper meant a summons to 
court and, on repetition of the offense, punishment; it is true too 
that in certain countries where church and state accepted the Ref- 
ormation, though in theory no one was compelled to forsake the 
old faith, still all were enjoined on threat of punishment to fre- 
quent the preaching of the new doctrines and to judge for them- 
selves afterward; it is true again that in certain districts the Jews 
(about whom men have seldom been very particular) were from 
time to time compelled to attend Protestant worship, or at least 
deputations of them were. (202) But all this apart, the Protestant 
church has on the whole kept within the bounds mentioned. On the 
other hand, the most odious side of the history of Catholic coun- 
tries is the treatment (and the principles underlying the treatment) 
of dissenters as rebels : rebels against the church, whose faith, fixed 
by majority vote or by absolute force, is supposed to be a law for 
all; rebels against the deity, whose jurisdiction the church has pre- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

tentiously claimed to administer. Here the ecclesiastical contract 
is entirely assimilated to the contract of civil society, and the ec- 
clesiastical state is allowed the same rights as the civil state. 

There may of course be a contract in respect of the arrange- 
ments for maintaining the church's doctrine; i.e., a majority, or 
representatives, or a prince may be left to organize these matters 
according to their own judgment, as well as to test and appoint 
teachers of the people. It might be asked whether this church [in 
which such a contract has been made] can have the right to remove 
an official after his appointment if he has departed from the official 
doctrine, cut himself adrift from the church, and carried his congre- 
gation with him in doing so. But it plainly cannot, because this con- 
gregation now forms a church in itself, and another church can 
have no authority over it whatever; it is only within its own bor- 
ders that a church can be regarded as a state with authority. The 
most the new congregation is bound to do is to announce to the 
church, and perhaps also to the state, the fact of its separation from 
the church, but it is not bound to justify itself in any way to either 
state or church. Should the old church decline to recognize this 
separation and call on the state for aid in hindering it (and it has 
the state at hand for this purpose, because a dominant church means 
one which employs the state's rights for its own advantage), then 
it would be the state's irremissible duty to defend the new church 
in the freedom of its faith and the exercise of its worship. 

Another question and one which has aroused very widespread 
interest recently is whether the leaders of the church may deprive 
such a preacher of his office and his livelihood as soon as they smell 
a rat. They maintain quite logically that it is their duty to defend 
the church's faith and see that it is taught; therefore, a preacher 
who teaches something else is not fit for his job. In the Catholic- 
church there is not the slightest question that the church has this 
right [of dismissal] . But in the Protestant church there are many 
who argue otherwise, on the following grounds: Infinitely more 
honor would accrue to the church if it made virtue and truth the 
general aim of its institutions. To propose to build up virtue and 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

truth with fixed symbols would contravene their very nature, and 
the souls of those who have made this (203) proposal and who still 
persevere in it are quite untouched by any ray of genuine truth. 
If a church and the leaders of church and state would make virtue 
and truth the goal of their efforts, then they would never cheat out 
of his job a righteous man, active and zealous for the good and the 
morality of his congregation, because he did not stick closely to the 
official doctrines of the church to which his congregation belonged; 
they would take it as a disgrace not to be able to come to terms with 
a man like that. All they would do would be to advise him to imitate 
them, i.e., to have the good sense to consider the opinions of others; 
and if he were worthy of such ecclesiastical and political leaders, or 
if they were worthy of him, then hardly even this advice would be 
needed. 

The most effective and therefore the most commonly used means 
of defending the church's faith is to make it impossible for church 
members to fall into doubt or to light upon other people's opinions 
in matters of faith. All sorts of ways for preventing the doubt which 
may arise from within, i.e., from the individual's own intellectual 
or rational activity, have been explored for long past: the young 
soul has received from the church those first impressions which al- 
ways retain a certain power over a man throughout his subsequent 
life; the doctrines of the church have been armed with all imagina- 
ble terrors so that, just as certain magicians are supposed to be able 
to inhibit the use of physical capacities, these doctrines are able to 
paralyze all psychical capacities or else to coerce them to function 
solely in accordance with this doctrinal imagery. Further, the free 
cultivation of these capacities is inhibited; the knowledge of ec- 
clesiastical doctrines is completely segregated; the doctrines stand 
isolated in their awful majesty; they utterly spurn relationship or 
intermixture with other doctrines or dependence on other laws; 
and the result is that there are two roads which lead to different re- 
gions of the next world and never meet : one road is that of domestic 
affairs, science, and fine art; the other is the church's, and a man 
who travels the former with the most profound and subtle intellect, 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

with the keenest wit, and with fine sensibilities, is unrecognizable if 
met on the church's road, and none of these qualities are perceptible 
in him there. 

The possibility of a change of faith through external influences 
is precluded by a strict censorship, an index of prohibited books, 
etc., and by preventing anything from accumulating to the credit of 
strange opinions in conversation or from pulpits and professorial 
chairs. The reason given for this is that the church has the duty of 
defending everyone's possession of the faith, and this possession is 
impaired if the individual's own doubts or the reasonings of others 
can tear the believer from his faith. (204) Every church gives out 
that its own faith is the nan plus ultra of truth, it starts from this 
principle and assumes that its faith can be pocketed like money. The 
faith really is treated like this; every church holds that nothing in 
the world is so easy to find as truth: the only thing necessary is to 
memorize one of its catechisms. For the churches it is false to say: 

'Tis the earnestness that flinches from no toil 

That alone can catch the gurgle of truth's deep-hid spring. 26 

The church offers truth in the open market; the stream of ecclesias- 
tical truth gurgles noisily in every street, and any wayfarer may 
drink his fill of it. 

The dispensers of this flood are the church's teachers, who are 
also its officials. They call themselves servants of the divine word: 
servants, because they are not masters or legislators but men 
obedient to another's will; of the divine word, because their learn- 
ing is not drawn from their inmost life but consists of words 
which have merely come to them. 

The mode of worship cannot be a matter of a social contract 
any more than the faith can. For if worship is taken in the strict 
sense of the word as specific actions supposed to be direct duties to 
God and not deducible from other duties to one's self or other men, 
then the only ground for the obligatoriness of these duties must lie 
in the free recognition that they are duties. The judgment that 
something is a duty cannot possibly be left to a majority vote. But 

26. [Schiller, Das Ideal und das Leben (Nohl).] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

if such a duty is universally recognized, then arrangements for its 
fulfilment may be made the subject of a reciprocal contract to in- 
trust them to a majority (as would happen in a democratically con- 
stituted church) or else to commission a government to deal with 
them (as in a monarchic or aristocratic church) . 

Different functions are commonly and quite naturally united in 
the clergy: they are not only free teachers of the church's truth but 
also officials intrusted with the church's duty of defending the faith, 
and priests who offer prayers and sacrifices, etc., to the deity in the 
people's name (a practice supposed to be productive of God's 
favor) and who put themselves at the head of the people by giving 
guidance in these matters. Apart from this (205), it is above all their 
task, by teaching dogmatic theology, by their moral character, by 
their exhortations, and by their general superintendence, to pro- 
duce what is called piety or the fear of God, and thus this virtue 
must have a different key and accent in every church. 

[ 29.] THE FORM MORALITY MUST ACQUIRE IN A CHURCH 

With the spread of Christianity a most important change has 
taken place in the method of furthering morality. When the church 
grew from a private society into a state, what was a private af- 
fair became a state affair and what was and is by nature a free 
choice became a duty. To some extent this has led to the growth of 
an ecclesiastical right over extra-ecclesiastical matters. The church 
has laid down the principles of morality, provided the means of as- 
similating these principles, and, in particular, set up a comprehen- 
sive science, called casuistry, for the application of these principles 
to individual cases. 

One leading trait in the church's moral system is its erection on 
religion and our dependence on the deity. Its foundation is not a 
datum of our own minds, a proposition which could be developed 
out of our own consciousness, but rather something learned. On 
this view morality is not a self-subsistent science or one with inde- 
pendent principles; neither is the essence of morality grounded on 
freedom, i.e., it is not the autonomy of the will. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

A start is made with historical facts; and the feelings and the 
type of disposition gratitude and fear they are to produce in 
order to keep us faithful to our duties are duly prescribed. What is 
pleasing to God is made the criterion of what our duty is; this is 
obvious enough where certain duties are concerned, but it takes 
some ingenious calculation to show how others are derived from 
that criterion. This arithmetic is so extensive and the multitude of 
duties is consequentially so infinitely enlarged that little is left to 
free choice. What in itself is neither commanded nor forbidden as a 
duty finally becomes important in the asceticism which leaves free 
no thoughts however private, leaves uncontrolled no action, no 
involuntary glance, no enjoyment of whatever kind, whether joy, 
love, friendship, or sociability. It lays claim to every psychical 
emotion, every association of thought, every idea which flits 
through the mind from moment to moment, every sense of well- 
being. It deduces duties by a calculation like that employed in eu- 
daemonism, 27 and it knows how to deduce dangers by a long string 
of syllogisms. It also prescribes a mass of exercises by which the 
soul is supposed to be developed. It is a comprehensive science of 
tactics which teaches artful and regular maneuvers both against 
every enemy of piety (206) which lurks in everyone's bosom and 
which may be created out of any situation and any thought, and 
also and especially against the invisible enemy in hell. 

[a) On this system], to judge how we ought to act in every in- 
dividual situation is of course very hard for the laity and the un- 
learned, because there is such a mass of moral and prudential rules 
that several of them may clash with one another in the simplest of 
matters, and it needs a keen and practiced eye to find a happy way 
out of situations that have thus become so involved. Of course, 
healthy common sense has taken no thought for all these precau- 
tions, and immediate feeling has generally seized on a more correct 
line of conduct than the most learned casuists, and, unlike what 
commonly happens with their decisions, it has not lost an oppor- 

27. [See below, p. 162, n. 42. With the rest of this section, compare Hegel's 
Philosophy of Right, 140.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

tunity of doing a good action because some occasion for sin is sup- 
posed to be its possible and distant result. 

In all these moral and prudential rules the procedure is a priori; 
i.e., a dead letter is laid down as a foundation and on it a system is 
constructed prescribing how men are to act and feel, what motives 
are to be produced by this or that "truth." Legislative power is ced- 
ed to memory above all the soul's other capacities, even the noblest 
of them. 

If someone has not had this systematic web woven round him 
from his youth up, if he has come to know human nature by other 
means, by observing the experience of others or by following his 
own feelings, and if he now becomes acquainted with the system 
and is supposed to live in accordance with it, he finds himself in a 
world bewitched. In a man brought up under the system he can 
find no essential features like his own; instead of trying to find any- 
thing natural in him, he would be better to look for it in oriental 
fairy stories or in our chivalry romances. Indeed he would be less 
in error if he proposed to make those poetic fantasies the basis of a 
system of physics or these productions of our own era the basis of a 
psychology. If he prostrates himself before God and man as a poor 
sinner and a vicious man, then for those who believe in the original 
corruption of our nature it is not worth the trouble to acknowledge 
guilt for a fault of this kind before God, one's self, and others; even 
without this acknowledgment we are on this view good for nothing, 
and our consolation is that this situation is one we share in common 
with everyone else and that any superiority one man may think he 
has over another is of no account in comparison. 

[b)] If a man has run through the whole course of knowledge, 
feelings, and dispositions prescribed by the church and has got no 
farther on than another without all this apparatus (e.g., than so 
many virtuous men among those who are called the "blind" 
heathen), if he has made great progress in anxious scrupulosity and 
prudence, in subjection and obedience, but lags behind or is lacking 
altogether in courage, decision, strength, and the other virtues 
which are the essential prerequisites of furthering the individual's 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

and the state's well-being, we may well ask what the human race 
has gained from the laborious asceticism of the church. 

[c)] Lastly, think of the innumerable hypocrites in any church 
which has a system of this kind. They have mastered all the requi- 
site knowledge, acquired the prescribed feelings, obeyed the 
church's decrees. They live and move in church activities. We may 
well raise the question: What strength can be ascribed to them if 
they observe and do all that the church requires and yet remain vil- 
lains, and traitors into the bargain? 

One advantage, and a great one, accrues to the state (or rather 
to the authorities, since it involves the breakup of the state proper) 
from the church's policy of influencing men's disposition, namely, 
a dominion or a despotism which has won the day as soon as the 
priesthood has extinguished all freedom of will. The church has 
taught men to despise civil and political freedom as dung in com- 
parison with heavenly blessings and the enjoyment of eternal life. 
Just as lack of the means to satisfy physical needs robs us, as ani- 
mals, of life, so too, if we are robbed of the power to enjoy free- 
dom of mind, our reason dies, and once we are in that position we no 
more feel the lack of it or a longing for it than the dead body longs 
for food and drink. Jesus tried to draw his people's attention to the 
spirit and disposition which had to vitalize their observance of 
their laws if they were to please God, but under the government of 
the church this "fulfilment" of the laws 28 was turned once again 
into rules and ordinances which in turn always need a similar "ful- 
filment." The church's attempt to provide one has failed in its 
turn, because the spirit or the disposition is too ethereal a thing to 
be confined in formulas, in verbal imperatives, or to be manifested 
in feelings or attitudes of mind manufactured to order. 

Another drawback, necessarily consequential on the others, is 
that these feelings which are to be produced in the course of moral 
improvement, and the actions which are looked upon as expressions 
of these feelings (communion, confession, almsgiving on the occa- 
sion of these and also during divine service), are public; the offer- 

28. [See The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate, ii.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

ings are made to the ecclesiastical state or its officials who because 
they are its officials are supposedly our friends. Now, since his 
steps on the road to piety are thus publicly displayed, a man will 
not readily lag behind (208) ; he joins in the feelings and their out- 
ward symbols, and the church cannot possibly ask or effect more. 

Even our customs, in so far as they portray feelings by external 
signs, rest not so much on the feelings we really have as on those 
we are supposed to have. For example, we are supposed to feel 
more grief at the death of our relatives than we ever really do, and 
the external signs of this feeling are governed not so much by our 
real feeling as by what we are supposed to feel, and in this matter 
convention has even gone so far as to fix the feeling's strength and 
duration. Our public religion, like many of our customs, appeals 
in these matters, as well as in the fasts and mourning of Lent and 
the finery and feasting of Easter Day, to rules for feelings, and these 
rules are supposed to be universally valid. This is why there is so 
much hollowness, so much spiritlessness in our usages; feeling has 
gone out of them, even though the rule still prescribes that we 
should have it. Casuistry and monastical asceticism have been hit 
by nothing so much as by the development of a moral sense in man- 
kind and the better knowledge of the human soul (developed, for 
instance, in the romances of Marivaux, etc.). 

The church has not stopped at thus prescribing a number of ex- 
ternal actions whereby we are supposed to do honor to the Deity 
and acquire favor with him as well as to produce that disposition 
and direction of mind which he requires of us. It has also directly 
prescribed laws for our mode of thinking, feeling, and willing, and 
Christians have thus reverted to the position of the Jews. The spe- 
cial characteristic of the Jewish religion that bondage to law from 
which Christians so heartily congratulate themselves on being free 
turns up once more in the Christian church. Part of the difference 
[between the Jews and the Christians] lies in the means [used to 
impose the law] ; the religious duties of the Jews were to some ex- 
tent also compulsory duties, and in a way this is the case in the 
Christian church too, because the man who neglects them is 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

burned at the stake in some places and is almost everywhere de- 
prived of his political rights. The chief meads used by the church, 
and by the Jews also, of course, is to work on the imagination, 
but the imagery used in the two cases is different. Among the 
Christians it is principally "fire whose terrifying blaze is kindled on 
high towers to dominate the dreamer's fancy if the torch of the 
law burns dim in his heart." 29 

(209) The main difference, however, is supposed to consist in 
this that, while the Jews thought they had satisfied God with 
their external ceremonies, it was impressed on the Christians that 
everything depended on the frame of mind in which two people 
performed the same action. Now, the Christian's frame of mind is 
prescribed for him in every detail; in the way of salvation there are 
precise indications not only about the knowledge which he must 
possess, and which, of course, is something capable of being clearly 
described, but also about the series of different dispositions which 
are supposed to flow from that knowledge and from one another. 
The church orders him to go through all this series, and hence the 
main difference between Jews and Christians comes to this, that 
while, in Judaism, only actions were commanded, the Christian 
church goes farther and commands feelings, a contradiction in 
terms. This difference is not of the kind which would achieve mo- 
rality, the aim of moral philosophy and religion; on the contrary, by 
this route it is inherently impossible, and it was impossible for the 
church, to produce more than legality and a mechanical virtue and 
piety. 

The necessary consequences of proposing to command feelings 
were, and were bound to be, these: (a) self-deception, i.e., the be- 
lief that one has the prescribed feeling, that one's feeling corre- 
sponds with what one finds described in the books, though a feeling 
thus artificially produced could not possibly be equivalent to the 
true and natural feeling either in force or value, (b) The result of 
this self-deception is a false tranquillity which sets a high value on 

29. [From a stanza (suppressed iti later editions) in the original version of 
Schiller's Resignation (Nohl).] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

these feelings manufactured in a spiritual hothouse and thinks much 
of itself on the strength of these; for this reason it is weak where it 
should be powerful, and, if a man recognizes this for himself, he 
sinks into helplessness, anxiety, 30 and self-distrust, a psychical 
state which often develops into madness. Often, too, he falls into 
despair if he thinks that, despite all his good will and every possible 
effort, his feelings have still not been intensified to the extent re- 
quired of him. Since he is in the realm of feeling and can never reach 
any firm criterion of his perfection (except perhaps via deceptive 
imaginings), he lapses into a frenzy of anxiety which lacks all 
strength and decision and which finds a measure of peace only in 
trusting on the boundless mercy of God. It takes only a slight in- 
crease in the intensity of the imagination to turn this condition too 
into madness and lunacy. 

The commonest effect is one form of the self-deception just 
mentioned, because, despite all his wealth of spiritual feelings, the 
man retains most of his ordinary character; the ordinary self goes 
on acting as before alongside the spiritual self and is at best dressed 
up by the latter with rhetorical phraseology and external gestures. 
In trade and commerce the ordinary man (210) appears, but he is a 
different person altogether on Sundays or under the eyes of his co- 
religionists or in reading his prayer-book. To charge a man like this 
with hypocrisy is often too harsh, because hypocrisy strictly en- 
tails a consciousness of the contradiction between the label given to 
an action and the motives behind it; in this instance this conscious- 
ness is altogether lacking, and the man is not a unity at all. If these 
two sorts of disposition openly collide with each other, and if the 
flesh, as is very often the case, gets the upper hand, then amid the 
prodigious mass of moral and ascetic commands it cannot possibly 
lack for one with which the trespass can be linked and, thus dis- 
guised, be made to appear to the agent in a praiseworthy light. 

These subtleties have been pushed farthest by the Catholic 
church; most of the external observances have been discarded by the 
Lutheran church, but it has set up a system of rules and prescrip- 

30. [Angst. This paragraph may perhaps interest students of Kierkegaard.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

tions for feelings which is upheld and practiced by the Pietists more 
consistently than by anyone else. Even if they may seem only to be 
a Lutheran sect y still we cannot say that in their moral or doctrinal 
system they have deviated in the slightest from the statutes of their 
church; on the contrary, they seem merely to give the Lutheran 
system a more precise expression. If they seem to distinguish them- 
selves from the majority of Lutherans, the reason is that nature and 
healthy common sense hinder the Lutherans from making their 
lives and their feelings conform to their system. On the whole and 
for the most part the Calvinists seem to make morality the chief 
thing and to reject asceticism. 

[ 30.] THE RISE OF SECTS INEVITABLE 

The various Christian churches share this policy of determining 
the motives, or the disposition, behind actions partly by public 
statutes and ordinances, partly by the force necessary to give ef- 
fect to these. By these means, human freedom cannot be regimented 
nor can anything beyond legality be produced. In this situation, 
either the church must have been able to blot out the character of 
humanity from part of the human race quite irrevocably and make 
this deficiency a characteristic as inextinguishable as a racial one, 
or else from time to time there must have been those* who found 
the demands of their own hearts unsatisfied in this ecclesiastical 
legality, in that type of character which asceticism is capable of 
building; they must have felt themselves able to give to themselves 
a moral law which arises from freedom. If they did not keep their 
faith (211) to themselves alone, they became founders of a sect, 
and this sect, if not suppressed by the church, gradually spread. 
The farther it spread from its source, the more it retained in its 
turn merely the laws and rules of its founder; and these now be- 
came for its adherents not laws that issued from freedom but ec- 
clesiastical statutes ah over again. This brought with it the rise 'of 
new sects once more, and so on indefinitely. This happened, to be- 

* E.g., the Beguines. See Mosheimf, Historia ecclesiastica, saec. xiii, pars ii, 
c. 5, 9, 10 (Nohl).] 

[142] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

gin with, in the Jewish church out of which the Christian sect arose; 
this sect became a church, and in the bosom of this church new 
sects were engendered once more; these blossomed into churches, 
and this is the way things must go on so long as the state miscon- 
ceives the scope of its rights and either allows a state consisting of 
a dominant church to arise within itself or else simply goes into 
partnership with the church and thus once again oversteps its au- 
thority. 

The fundamental error at the bottom of a church's entire sys- 
tem is that it ignores the rights pertaining to every faculty of the 
human mind, in particular to the chief of them, reason. Once the 
church's system ignores reason, it can be nothing save a system 
which despises man. The powers of the human mind have a domain 
of their own, and this domain was separated off for science by 
Kant. This salutary separation has not been made by the church in 
its legislating activity, and centuries have still to elapse before the 
European mind learns to make and recognize this distinction in 
practical life and in legislation, although the Greeks had been 
brought to this point automatically by their sound intuition. In 
Greek religion, or in any other whose underlying principle is a 
pure morality, the moral commands of reason, which are subjective, 
were not treated or set up as if they were the objective rules with 
which the understanding deals. 31 But the Christian church has taken 
the subjective element in reason and set it up as a rule as if it were 
something objective. 

Reason sets up moral, necessary, and universally valid laws; 
Kant calls these "objective," though not in the same sense in which 
the rules of the understanding are objective. Now the problem is to 
make these laws subjective, to make them into maxims, to find mo- 
tives for them; and the attempts to solve this problem are infinitely 

3 1 . [The translation of this sentence rests on accepting Nohl's emendation 
of Hegel's manuscript. The manuscript, which Haering defends (op. nf., pp. 
245-46), reads: "In the Christian church, or in any other whose underlying 
principle is a pure morality, the moral commands or reason, which are subjec- 
tive, are treated exactly as if they were the objective rules with which the un- 
derstanding deals."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

diverse. Reason's capacity to set up such laws is seldom denied by 
theologians, and nowadays it is almost universally acknowledged. 
If theologians have denied it, they have principally meant to deny 
to reason not this first capacity but the second, i.e., to deny that 
reason (212) is in a position to provide its law with motives capable 
of creating respect for the law or inclining the will to act in accord- 
ance with the law. The Christian religion gives us objective mo- 
tives motives which are not the law itself. 

The sole moral motive, respect for the moral law, can be aroused 
only in a subject in whom the law is itself the legislator, from whose 
own inner consciousness this law proceeds. But the Christian reli- 
gion proclaims that the moral law is something outside us and 
something given, and thus it must strive to create respect for it in 
some other way. The very conception of a positive religion per- 
mits us to assume that such a religion will be characterized by its 
exhibiting the moral law as something given; if it is given, then vir- 
tue becomes an art of a very complicated kind in contrast with an 
uncorrupted moral sense which is in a position to decide any issue 
on the spot because it dares to make its decisions for itself. This 
complex moral art involves dexterity and skill of every kind, and, 
like any other, it is supposed to be capable of being learned; but it 
has had a remarkable fate, because while all human arts have be- 
come perfected and one generation has learned from its predeces- 
sors, human morality alone has not visibly advanced, and everyone 
must learn it for himself from the beginning without being able to 
use the experience of previous ages. Civil legislations and constitu- 
tions have man's external rights for their object; but the object of 
the church's constitution is what man owes to himself and to God. 
Now what man does owe to himself or to God is something which 
the church claims to know, and it sets up a judgment seat from 
which it pronounces judgment on these matters. Anything in hu- 
man actions and affairs which may be God's it drags before this 
court, and it has entered in its code what feelings we ought to have 
in performing these actions. In this way it has set up a prolix 
moral codex which contains what we are to do and to know, to be- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

lieve and to feel. The possession and administration of this codex is 
the basis of all the church's judicial and legislative power, and if to 
be subjected to such an alien code traverses the rights of every in- 
dividual's reason, then all the church's power is a contravention of 
men's rights. The right to legislate for one's self, to be responsible 
to one's self alone for administering one's own law, is one which 
no man may renounce, for that would be to cease to be a man alto- 
gether. But to prevent a man from making this renunciation is not 
the state's business, because it would mean compelling him to be 
a man and would be an act of force. 

(21 3) The rise of all the Christian sects in the Middle Ages and 
in modern times is based on individuals' sensing that they had the 
right to legislate for themselves. But in uncivilized ages, or in men 
born in a social class condemned to barbarism by its rulers, the 
principle of such a legislation was generally a fevered, wild, and 
disordered imagination. Still, among its products a beautiful spark 
of reason glowed from time to time, and thus man's inalienable 
right to legislate for himself out of his own heart was always 
upheld. 

[PART II. MATERIALS FOR A CONTINUATION 

OF PART I] 
[ 1. "Is JUDAEA, THEN, THE TEUTONS' FATHERLAND?"] 

(214) Every nation has its own imagery, its gods, angels, devils, 
or saints who live on in the nation's traditions, whose stories and 
deeds the nurse tells to her charges and so wins them over by im- 
pressing their imagination. In this way these tales are given per- 
manence. In addition to these creatures of the imagination, there 
also live in the memory of most nations, especially free nations, the 
ancient heroes of their country's history, i.e., the founders or 
liberators of their states scarcely less than the men of valor in the 
days before the nation was united into a state under civil laws. 
These heroes do not live solely in their nation's imagination; their 
history, the recollection of their deeds, is linked with public festi- 
vals, national games, with many of the state's domestic institutions 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

or foreign affairs, with well-known houses and districts, with pub- 
lic memorials and temples. Every nation which has its own religion 
and polity, or which has made wholly its own any part of the reli- 
gion and culture it has acquired from other peoples, has had its own 
national imagery of this kind; consider, for example, the Egyptians, 
the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans. The ancient Germans too, the 
Gauls, the Scandinavians, had their Valhalla (the home of their 
gods) as well as their heroes who lived in their songs, whose deeds 
inspired them in battle or (215) filled their souls with great re- 
solves on festal occasions; and they had their sacred groves where 
these deities drew nearer to them. 

Christianity has emptied Valhalla, felled the sacred groves, ex- 
tirpated the national imagery as a shameful superstition, as a 
devilish poison, and given us instead the imagery of a nation whose 
climate, laws, culture, and interests are strange to us and whose his- 
tory has no connection whatever with our own. A David or a Solo- 
mon lives in our popular imagination, but our country's own heroes 
slumber in learned history books, and, for the scholars who write 
them, Alexander or Caesar is as interesting as the story of Charle- 
magne or Frederick Barbarossa. Except perhaps for Luther in the 
eyes of Protestants, what heroes could we have had, we who were 
never a nation? Who could be our Theseus, who founded a state 
and was its legislator? Where are our Harmodius and Aristogiton 
to whom we could sing scolia as the liberators of our land? The 
wars which have engulfed millions of Germans were wars waged 
by princes out of ambition or for their own independence; the peo- 
ple were only tools, and even if they fought with rage and exasper- 
ation, they still could only ask at the end: "Why?" or "What have 
we gained?" The Reformation, and the bloody vindication of the 
right to make reforms in religion, is one of the few events in which 
a part of the nation took an interest, an interest which did not 
evaporate, like the interest in the Crusades, as the imagination 
cooled, but which was animated by a sense of an abiding right, the 
right in matters of religious opinion to follow one's own self- 
wrought or self-acquired conviction. But apart from the usual an- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

nual readings of the Augsburg Confession in some Protestant 
churches (readings usually wearisome to every hearer) and apart 
from the dull sermon which follows these, what is the festival 
which celebrates the memory of this event? It looks as if the author- 
ities in church and state were content that the memory of how our 
forefathers had a sense of this right, how thousands could stake 
their lives to vindicate it, should slumber in our hearts and not be 
retained in any living fashion. 

Anyone who did not know the history of the city, the culture, 
and the laws of Athens could almost have learned them from the 
festivals if he had lived a year within its gates. 

Thus we are without any religious imagery which is home- 
grown or linked with our history, and we are without any political 
imagery whatever; all that we have (216) is the remains of an 
imagery of our own, lurking amid the common people under the 
name of superstition. As a belief in ghosts it retains the memory of 
a hill where knights once did their mischief or a house where 
monks and nuns walked of where a supposedly faithless trustee or 
neighbor has still failed to find rest in the grave. As a product of 
fancy, drawing nothing from history, it befools weak or evil men 
with the possibility of witchcraft. These are sad and indigent re- 
mains of an attempted independence and an attempted possession, 
and the general attitude to them is that it is the duty of all enlightened 
people to extirpate them altogether. As a result of this temper in 
the upper classes, quite apart from the coarseness and intractability 
of the available material, it has become totally impossible to en- 
noble these remnants of mythology and thereby refine the imagina- 
tion and sensibility of the common people. The delightful jeux 
$ esprit of Holty, Burger, and Musaus in this department are alto- 
gether lost on the masses because they are too backward in the rest 
of their culture to be capable of enjoying them. Similarly, the imag- 
ery of our more educated classes has an entirely different orbit 
from that of the common people, and the latter do not understand 
in the least the characters and scenes of those authors and artists 
who cater for the former. On the other hand, the Athenian citizen 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

whose poverty deprived him of the chance to vote in the public as- 
sembly, or who even had to sell himself as a slave, still knew as 
well as Pericles and Alcibiades who Agamemnon and Oedipus 
were when Sophocles or Euripides brought them on the stage as 
noble types of beautiful and sublime manhood or when Phidias or 
Apelles exhibited them as pure models of physical beauty. 

Shakespeare delineated his characters so truly that, quite apart 
from the fact that many of them are familiar historical figures, they 
have been deeply impressed on the English people and have formed 
for them a group of imaginative pictures that are wholly their own. 
The result is that the people can understand and freely enjoy the 
Shakespeare gallery, i.e., that part of the Academy exhibitions in 
which the greatest masters compete. 

In the sphere of imaginative ideas which would be common to 
both the educated and the vulgar among us, i.e., the story of our 
religion, there are certain obstacles to that poetic adaptation which 
might be a means of refining our people, Apart from anything else, 
there is the disadvantage, so far as the vulgar are concerned, that 
they cling too rigidly to the material in question as to a matter of 
faith; while so far as the educated are concerned, the trouble is 
that, (217) however fine the poet's treatment of the subject, the 
very names bring with them the idea of something Gothic or Old 
Prankish 32 and, because of the compulsion by which they have been 
proclaimed to our reason from our youth onward, they carry a 
sense of uneasiness running counter to that enjoyment of beauty 
which arises from the free play of our mental pow r ers. Even if in 
some heads the imagination has made itself free and has come to 
aspire solely to the beautiful and good, still if we look closely at its 
ideals or its susceptibility to these we can see that they have been 
cut up for it out of the catechism. 

As the taste for ancient literature spread, and with it the taste 
for fine art, the more educated part of our people adopted the Greek 
mythology into their imagination. Their susceptibility to it proves 
that its ideas were more self-subsistent, more independent of the 

32. [Hegel is probably thinking of Klopstock's Messiah.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

intellect, which otherwise could not have refrained from disturbing 
their free enjoyment. Others, trying to give the Germans an 
imagery of their own once more, an imagery that was home-grown, 
cried: "Is Achaea, then, the Teutons' fatherland?" 33 But this 
imagery is not that of Germans today. The project of restoring to a 
nation an imagery once lost was always doomed to failure; and on 
the whole it was bound to be even less fortunate than Julian's at- 
tempt to inculcate the mythology of his forefathers into his con- 
temporaries in its old strength and universality. The outcome of 
that attempt was to all appearance far more promising because at 
that date much of the old mythology was still left in men's hearts 
and because the Emperor had plenty of means at his command for 
giving it pre-eminence. The old German imagery has nothing in 
our day to connect or adapt itself to; it stands as cut off from the 
whole circle of our ideas, opinions, and beliefs, and is as strange to 
us as the imagery of Ossian or of India. And what the poet cried to 
his people in relation to Greek mythology could be said both to 
him and his nation with just as much right in relation to the Jewish; 
they could be asked: Is Judaea, then, the Teutons' fatherland? 

In proportion as the imagination loves freedom, it requires that 
the religious imagery of a people shall be permanent, i.e., shall be 
less linked with specific dates than with certain familiar places. 
For the vulgar, familiarity with the place is generally one proof 
more, or the most certain proof, that the story told of it is true. 
This is why the mythology of the Greeks was a living reality in 
their hearts, and why the Catholics have such a strong faith in their 
saints and (218) miracle workers. To the Catholics, the miracles 
worked in their own country are much more real and important 
than far greater ones worked elsewhere or even than those worked 
by Christ himself. Nearly every country has its patron saint who 
worked special miracles and receives exceptional honor there. 
Moreover, every nation believes, on the strength of the special 
notice devoted to it by its protecting deity, that it is pre-emi- 

3 3 . [Hegel is quoting, a little inaccurately, from Klopstock's ode, Der Huge! 
unddtrHarn (1767).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

nently distinguished and honored, and this precedence over other 
nations increases its dependence on him, as is the case with the 
Jews. This is how an imaginative picture of this kind becomes 
domiciled in a nation's heart. 

What in our Holy Scriptures is properly history, like the greater 
part of the Old Testament, and is not something, like the New Tes- 
tament, which it is strictly our duty to believe, is precisely what 
may become a content of the popular imagination; but it is so alien 
to our customs, to our polity, to the culture attained by our mental 
and physical powers that we can hardly make contact with it at any 
point except at the occasional references to universal human nature 
which it contains. For anyone who begins to be enlightened, i.e., to 
demand universality for the laws of his intellect and his experience, 
and this means for people whose numbers are continually increas- 
ing, it is in the main unpalatable, and it is useful for only two types 
of reader: the first consists of those who with saintly simplicity 
take the whole thing for gospel in the sense of being convinced 
that the recorded events would have been open to everyone's ex- 
perience; the second never stumbles on this question about truth 
or falsehood for the intellect, but thinks only on the subjective as- 
pect of this material, on its truth for the imagination. (See Herder's 
works, for example.)* 

* The different ways of reading the old sagas, whether with the intellect or 
the imagination, may be seen, for example, in the story of Moses. It is told of 
him that he saw God on Sinai, (a) The ordinary Christian reader takes this as 
a case of sense-perception and one which accords with the rules governing all 
our sense-perceptions, (b) The enlightened and intellectualistic Recha fin 
Lessing's Nathan der Weisc, III, 2 (1653)] says: "Wherever Moses stood, it 
was before his God/' She grants the objective existence of God but denies that 
he can be apprehended by man's sense-perception. She holds that God was pres- 
ent to him at all times even if he was not thinking of him, and she denies in par- 
ticular that God was visibly present to him. (c) A third possibility is to main- 
tain that at that place and moment where Moses believed he had felt the pres- 
ence of God, the Deity was truly present to him in the same sense in which any 
and every feeling has truth for us. But there is no intention here of dogmatizing 
about the object of the feeling, since in the judgment "I feel so-and-so" no ques- 
tion arises about objective reality; all that is implied is that at any place or 
moment where a man does not think of God, God is not present. 

The first of these three judgments upholds the perceptivity of God as an ob- 
ject; the second denies his perceptivity but upholds his existence; the third up- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

(219) The Greeks had their religious sagas almost exclusively 
for the purpose of having gods to whom they could devote their 
gratitude, build altars, and offer sacrifices. Our sacred history, on 
the other hand, is supposed to have many uses; we are supposed to 
learn and derive from it all sorts of moral truths. But a sound moral 
judgment which approaches it on purpose to learn from it is often 
compelled first to read the morality into most of the stories before 
it can find morality in them; and in many instances it encounters 
difficulty in squaring them with its principles. The chief utility of 
these stories to a pious man, and the chief effect of them he can de- 
tect in himself, is edification, i.e., the awakening of obscure feel- 
ings of saintliness (because he is now occupied with ideas about 
God) . The confusedness of these feelings gives up any claim to a 
gain in moral insight, though generally it brings with it an intensi- 
fication of the so-called holy passions such as a misconceived holy 
zeal for God's glory, a pious pride and conceit, and a lethargi- 
cal submission to God. 

[ 2. How CHRISTIANITY CONQUERED PAGANISM] 34 
One of the pleasantest feelings enjoyed by Christians arises 
from comparing their good fortune and knowledge with the mis- 
fortune and darkness of the heathen, and one of the commonplaces 
the spiritual shepherds are most fond of using to lead their sheep to 
the pastures of self-satisfaction and proud humility is to put this 
good fortune vividly before their eyes, a process in which the blind 

holds the perceptivity of God but not of God as an object. The first ascribes 
sensation and understanding to Moses, the second imagination alone, the third 
the activity of both imagination and reason. Objectivity alone speaks to the 
maker of the second judgment, and it is judged as an object according to the 
laws of his understanding and experience. The maker of the third judgment is 
heedless of the object; the spirit of Moses speaks directly to his spirit; it is re- 
vealed to him, and he understands it. 

The first judgment asserts subjective and objective truth; the second, objec- 
tive truth accompanied by subjective error; the third, subjective truth accom- 
panied, if the expression be allowed, by objective error. 

34. [The passage which is divided in the translation into 2-4 appears 
in Hegel's manuscript under the general title, "Difference between the Imagi- 
native Religion of the Greeks and the Positive Religion of the Christians."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

heathen generally come off very badly. Special commiseration is 
given to them on the score of their comfortless religion, since it does 
not promise forgiveness of sins and, in particular, leaves them with- 
out faith in a Providence governing their destinies to wise and bene- 
ficent ends. But we can soon be aware that our sympathy is super- 
fluous, since in the Greeks we do not (220) encounter the needs 
which our practical reason has today when we have learned how to 
saddle it with plenty of them. 

The supplanting of paganism by Christianity is one of those re- 
markable revolutions whose causes the thoughtful historian must 
labor to discover. Great revolutions which strike the eye at a glance 
must have been preceded by a still and secret revolution in the 
spirit of the age, a revolution not visible to every eye, especially im- 
perceptible to contemporaries, and as hard to discern as to describe 
in words. It is lack of acquaintance with this spiritual revolution 
which makes the resulting changes astonishing. The supersession of 
a native and immemorial religion by a foreign one is a revolution 
which occurs in the spiritual realm itself, and it is thus of a kind 
whose causes must be found all the more directly in the spirit of 
the times. 

How could a religion have been supplanted after it had been es- 
tablished in states for centuries and intimately connected with their 
constitutions? What can have caused the cessation of a belief in 
gods to whom cities and empires ascribed their origin, to whom the 
people made daily offerings, whose blessings were invoked on 
every enterprise, under whose banners alone the armies had con- 
quered, who had been thanked for victories, who received joyful 
songs and earnest prayers, whose temples and altars, wealth and 
statues, were the pride of the people and the glory of the arts, and 
whose worship and festivals were but occasions for universal joy? 
How could the faith in the gods have been reft from the web of 
human life with which it had been interwoven by a thousand 
threads? A habit of body can be opposed by other physical capaci- 
ties operating together with the will; the habitual exercise of one 
psychical capacity (fixity of will excepted) can be opposed by 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

other psychical capacities. But how strong must the counterweight 
have been to overcome the power of a psychical habit which was 
not isolated, as our religion frequently is today, but was inter- 
twined in every direction with all men's capacities and most inti- 
mately interwoven even with the most spontaneously active of 
them? 

"Acquaintance with Christianity had the negative effect of 
drawing people's attention to the poverty and comfortlessness of 
their religion, of giving their minds an insight into the foolish and 
ridiculous elements in their fabulous mythology and making them 
dissatisfied with it. The positive effect was their adoption of Chris- 
tianity, the religion which was so well adapted to all the needs of 
the human mind and heart, which answered so satisfactorily all the 
questions of human reason, and which into the bargain (221) had 
its divine origin authenticated by miracles." This is the usual an- 
swer to the questions in the last paragraph. The expressions used 
by those who give this answer: "intellectual enlightenment," 
"fresh insight," etc., are so familiar to us that we think great 
things of them and suppose that they have explained everything. 
We make so light of this intellectual operation and look on its ef- 
fects as so natural simply because it is so very easy for us to make 
any child understand how silly is the belief that up in heaven a 
troop of gods, like those the heathen believed in, walk about, eat, 
drink, indulge in horseplay, and do other things that any decent 
person would be ashamed to do on earth. 

But anyone who has made the simple observation that the heathen 
too had intellects, and that in everything great, beautiful, noble, and 
free they are so far our superiors that we can hardly make them our 
examples but must rather look up to them as a different species at 
whose achievements we can only marvel; anyone who knows that 
religion, particularly an imaginative religion, cannot be torn from 
the heart, especially from the whole life and heart of a people, by 
cold syllogisms constructed in the study; anyone who knows that 
in the expansion of Christianity use was made of anything and 
everything rather than reason and intellect; anyone who, before 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

explaining the vogue of Christianity by miracles, knows to raise 
the prior question: What must have been the character of the age 
which made possible the occurrence of miracles at that time, espe- 
cially those miracles which [sacred] history records?; anyone who 
knows all this will find unsatisfactory the usual answers to the 
question about the supersession of paganism. 

Free Rome subjected to her sway a number of states which had 
lost their freedom, some (those in Asia) earlier, others (those fur- 
ther west) later; a few which had remained free she destroyed alto- 
gether, because they refused to bow to the yoke. All that was left 
to the conqueror of the world was the honor of being the last to 
lose her freedom. Greek and Roman religion was a religion for 
free peoples only, and, with the loss of freedom, its significance 
and strength, its fitness to men's needs, were also bound to perish. 
What can divisions of artillery do if they have no ammunition left? 
They must seek other weapons. What is the use of a net to a fisher- 
man if the stream has run dry? 

As free men the Greeks and Romans obeyed laws laid down by 
themselves, obeyed men whom they had themselves appointed to 
office, waged wars on which they had themselves decided, gave 
their property, exhausted their passions, and sacrificed their lives 
by thousands for an end which was their own. They neither learned 
nor taught [a moral system] but evinced by their actions the moral 
maxims (222) which they could call their very own. In public as in 
private and domestic life, every individual was a free man, one who 
lived by his own laws. The idea (Idee) of his country or of his state 
was the invisible and higher reality for which he strove, which im- 
pelled him to effort; it was the final end of his world or in his eyes 
the final end of the world, an end which he found manifested in the 
realities of his daily life or which he himself co-operated in mani- 
festing and maintaining. Confronted by this idea, his own individ- 
uality vanished; it was only this idea's maintenance, life, and per- 
sistence that he asked for, and these were things which he himself 
could make realities. It could never or hardly ever have struck him 
to ask or beg for persistence or eternal life for his own individual- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

ity. Only in moments of inactivity or lethargy could he feel the 
growing strength of a purely self-regarding wish. Cato turned to 
Plato's Phaedo only when his world, his republic, hitherto the high- 
est order of things in his eyes, had been destroyed; at that point 
only did he take flight to a higher order still. 

The Greek and Roman gods held sway in the realm of nature and 
over everything which could bring grief or happiness to men. Strong 
passions were their work, just as it was they who bestowed great 
gifts of wisdom, eloquence, and counsel. They were asked to ad- 
vise whether an undertaking would turn out well or ill; they were 
implored for their blessings and thanked for gifts of every kind. If 
a man clashed with these lords of nature and their power, he could 
set over against them his freedom and his own self. His will was 
free and obeyed its own laws; he knew no divine commands, or, 
if he called the moral law a divine command, the command was 
nowhere given in words but ruled him invisibly (Antigone). This 
implied that he recognized everyone's right to have a will of his 
own, be it good or bad. Good men acknowledged in their own case 
the duty of being good, yet at the same time they respected other 
people's freedom not to be so; thus they did not set up and impose 
on others any moral system, whether one that was divine or one 
manufactured or abstracted [from experience] by themselves. 

Fortunate campaigns, increase of wealth, and acquaintance with 
luxury and more and more of life's comforts created in Athens and 
Rome an aristocracy of wealth and military glory. The aristo- 
crats then acquired a dominion and an influence over the masses and 
corrupted them by their deeds and still more by the use they made 
of their riches. The masses then readily and willingly ceded power 
and preponderance in the state to the aristocrats, conscious as they 
were that they had given them their power and could take it away 
again at the first fit of bad temper. But gradually the masses ceased 
to deserve a reproof so often broiight against them on the score of 
their ingratitude to their leaders; (223) when they could choose 

35. ["The law of god is an everlasting law, unwritten and immovable, and 
no man knows when it was first put forth" (Sophocles, Antigone, 11. 450-57).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

between [subjection] and this wrong [of ingratitude], they ceased 
to prefer the latter and [were now ready] to curse in an individual 
those virtues which had saved their country from ruin. 36 Soon the 
preponderance freely granted to the rulers was upheld by force, and 
the fact that this could happen already presupposes the loss of that 
type of feeling and consciousness which, under the name of "vir- 
tue/ 'Montesquieu 37 makes the principle of a republican regime 
and which is readiness to sacrifice one's life for an ideal (Idee), an 
ideal realized for republicans in their country. 

The picture of the state as a product of his own energies disap- 
peared from the citizen's soul. The care and oversight of the whole 
rested on the soul of one man or a few. Each individual had his own 
allotted place, a place more or less restricted and different from his 
neighbor's. The administration of the state machine was intrusted 
to a small number of citizens, and these served only as single cogs 
deriving their worth solely from their connection with others. Each 
man's allotted part in the congeries which formed the whole was 
so inconsiderable in relation to the whole that the individual did not 
need to realize this relation or to keep it in view. Usefulness to the 
state was the great end which the state set before its subjects, and 
the end they set before themselves in their political life was gain, 
self-maintenance, and perhaps vanity. All activity and every pur- 

36. [The German text is as follows: "Aber nach und nach horten sie auf, 
einen Vorwurf zu verdienen, den man ihnen oft gemacht hat, namlich undank- 
bar gegen sie zu sein und bei der Wahl zwischen diesem Unrecht und der Frei- 
heit das erstere vorzuziehen, Tugenden eines Mannes verfluchen zu konnen, 
die ihrem Vaterlande den Untergang brachten." None of the ways of constru- 
ing this sentence gives a satisfactory sense. The translator thinks that either 
Hegel's manuscript has been wrongly or incompletely transcribed, or else he 
wrote Freiheit for Unfreiheit and "ceased to curse" when he meant "began to." 
The general sense of the whole paragraph must be that the masses began by 
ceding power voluntarily to the aristocrats who won campaigns for them, etc.; 
but, as soon as they became displeased with their rulers or ill-tempered toward 
them, they were ungrateful enough to dismiss them, and thus liberty was to 
some extent preserved. Gradually, however, this ingratitude, the sign of a 
devotion to liberty, ceased, and instead of rewarding virtue and thus showing 
that they still possessed a true republican spirit, they cursed it. Soon, therefore, 
the power of the aristocrats was maintained by force, and freedom died alto- 
gether.] 

37. [Esprit des his, III, 3.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

pose now had a bearing on something individual; activity was no 
longer for the sake of a whole or an ideal. Either everyone worked 
for himself or else he was compelled to work for some other in- 
dividual. Freedom to obey self-given laws, to follow self-chosen 
leaders in peacetime and self-chosen generals in war, to carry out 
plans in whose formulation one had had one's share all this van- 
ished. All political freedom vanished also; the citizen's right gave 
him only a right to the security of that property which now filled 
his entire world. Death, the phenomenon which demolished the 
whole structure of his purposes and the activity of his entire life, 
must have become something terrifying, since nothing survived 
him. But the republican's whole soul was in the republic; the re- 
public survived him, and there hovered before his mind the thought 
of its immortality. 

But since all his aims and all his activities were directed on 
something individual, since he no longer found as their object any 
universal ideal for which he might live or die, he also found no 
refuge in his gods. They too were individual and incomplete beings 
and could not satisfy the demands of a universal ideal. Greeks and 
Romans were satisfied with gods so poorly equipped, with gods 
possessed of human weaknesses, only because they had the eternal 
and the self-subsistent within their own hearts. They could tolerate 
the mockery of their gods on the stage because (224) to mock them 
could never be to mock holiness. A slave in Plautus 38 dared to say: 
si summits Jupiter hoc facit, ego hamuncio idem non facerem? an in- 
ference that his audience must have found singular and droll because 
they were quite unfamiliar with the principle of finding in the god 
what man's duty was; a Christian, on the other hand, would have 
been bound to find the slave's reasoning correct. In this situation, 
faith in something stable or absolute was impossible; obedience to 
another's will and another's legislation was habitual. Without a 
country of his own, the citizen lived in a polity with which no joy 
could be associated, and all he felt was its pressure. He had a wor- 

38. [Not Plautus, but Terence Eunuchus iii. 5. 42: "If Jupiter the most high 
does this, why should I, a manikin, not do the same?"] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ship to whose celebration and festivals he could no longer bring a 
cheerful heart, because cheerfulness had flown away out of his life. 
A slave, besides being often more than a match for his lord in nat- 
ural capacity and education, could no longer descry in him the free- 
dom and independence in which his superiority might otherwise 
have consisted. In this situation men were offered a religion which 
either was already adapted to the needs of the age (since it had 
arisen in a people characterized by a similar degeneracy and a 
similar though differently colored emptiness and deficiency) or else 
was one out of which men could form what their needs demanded 
and what they could then adhere to. 

Reason could never give up finding practical principles, the ab- 
solute and self-subsistent reality, somewhere or other; but these 
were no longer to be met with in man's will. They now showed 
themselves in the deity proffered by the Christian religion, a deity 
beyond the reach of our powers and our will but not of our suppli- 
cations and prayers. Thus the realization of a moral ideal could now 
no longer be willed but only wished for, since what we wish for we 
cannot achieve of ourselves but expect to acquire without our co- 
operation. The first disseminators of the Christian religion hoped 
for a revolution to be brought about by these means, i.e., to be ac- 
complished by a Divine Being while men looked on passively. 
When this hope finally evaporated, men were content to await this 
universal revolution at the end of the world. Once the realization 
of an ideal was placed beyond the boundaries of human powers, and 
once men felt themselves incapable of achieving much more, it did 
not matter how boundlessly enlarged the object of their hopes be- 
came; this made that object capable of incorporating everything 
with which an enthusiastic oriental imagination could adorn it, and 
what was thus incorporated was not a fantasy but something ex- 
pected to be actual. 

Similarly, so long as the Jewish state found spirit and strength 
enough in itself for the maintenance of its independence, the Jews 
seldom, or, as many hold, never, had recourse to the expectation of 
a Messiah. (225) Not until they were subjugated by foreign na- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

tions, not until they had a sense of their impotence and weakness, do 
we find them burrowing in their sacred books for a consolation of 
that kind. Then when they were offered a Messiah who did not 
fulfil their political expectations, they thought it worth toiling to 
insure that their state should still remain a state;* they very soon 
discarded their ineffective messianic hopes and took up arms. After 
doing everything the most enthusiastic courage could achieve, they 
endured the most appalling of human calamities and were buried 
with their polity under the ruins of their city. In history and the 
judgment of nations they would stand alongside the Carthaginians 
and Saguntines, and above the Greeks and Romans, whose cities 
outlived their polities, if the sense of what a nation may do for its 
independence were not too foreign to us, and if we had not the im- 
pertinence to order a nation not to manage its affairs in its own way 
but to follow our opinions and live and die for them, though we do 
not lift a finger to uphold them ourselves. The scattered remnant of 
the Jews have not abandoned the idea of the Jewish state, but they 
have reverted not to the banners of their own courage but only to 
the standards of an ineffective messianic hope. 

The adherents of paganism also sensed this lack of ideals for con- 
duct; Lucian and Longinus sensed that there should be such ideals in 
human affairs, and their sad experience in this matter was poured out 
in bitter lamentations. Others again, like Porphyry and lamblichus, 
attempted to equip their gods with the wealth which human beings 
no longer possessed and then to conjure some of it back in the form 
of a gift. Apart from some earlier attempts, it has been reserved 
in the main for our epoch to vindicate at least in theory the human 
ownership of the treasures formerly squandered on heaven; but 
what age will have the strength to validate this right in practice and 
make itself its possessor? 

Men thus corrupt, men who must have despised themselves 
from the moral point of view, even though in other respects they 
prided themselves on being God's favorites, were bound to create 

* A nation to which this is a matter of indifference will soon cease to be a 
nation. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

the doctrine of the corruption of human nature and adopt it gladly. 
For one thing, it corresponded with experience; for another, it satis- 
fied their pride by exculpating them and giving them in the very 
sense of calamity a reason for pride; it brought disgrace into honor, 
since it sanctified and perpetuated every incapacity by turning into 
a sin any possible belief in human potentialities. The scope of the 
dominion exercised by the pagan (226) gods, who hitherto had 
haunted nature only, was extended, like that of the Christian God, 
over the free world of mind. The right of legislation was ceded to 
God exclusively, but, not content with this, men looked to him for 
every good impulse, every better purpose and decision. These were 
regarded as his work, not in the sense in which the Stoics ascribed 
every good thing to the deity because they thought of their souls 
as sparks of the divine or as generated by God, but as the work of a 
being outside us in whom we have no part, a being foreign to us 
with whom we have nothing in common. Again, even our ability to 
submit passively to God's operation was supposed to be weakened 
by the unceasing machinations and cunning of an evil spirit who 
made constant inroads into the other's domain in the realms of both 
nature and mind. While the Manichaeans seemed to allow the evil 
principle an undivided dominion in the realm of nature, orthodox 
theology took this doctrine as a dishonor to God's majesty and 
vindicated God's mastery of most of nature, though at the same 
time it compensated the evil principle for this loss by allowing it 
some power in the realm of freedom. 

With an upright heart and a well-meaning zeal the helpless hu- 
man race fled to the altar where it found and worshiped what was 
self-subsistent and moral. 39 But as Christianity penetrated into the 
upper and more corrupt classes, as great differences arose within 

39. [I.e., God, as the ideal of perfection (see the next paragraph) revealed 
in the teaching of Jesus. Men were helpless because they were not only corrupt 
in fact but, according to the doctrine of original sin, corrupt in nature. Moral- 
ity was not a law of man's own being, and holiness therefore could not be found 
in man, but only in God. Hegel's view is that the church perverted the essen- 
tially moral teaching of Jesus, and in its disputes about God's nature, forgot 
his moral perfection.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

its own organization between the distinguished and the inferior, as 
despotism poisoned more and more of the sources of life and real- 
ity, the age revealed its hopeless triviality in the turn taken by its 
conceptions of God's divinity and its disputes about these. And it 
displayed its indigence all the more nakedly by surrounding it with 
a nimbus of sanctity and lauding it to the skies as the supreme honor 
of mankind. 

The ideal of perfection was the sole abiding-place left to the 
holy, but morality now disappeared from this ideal, or at any rate 
it was cast into oblivion. The sight of morality, the true divinity, 
would have reflected a warming ray into men's hearts, but instead 
of this the mirror now revealed nothing save the picture of its own 
age, the picture of nature fashioned to a purpose bestowed on it at 
discretion by human pride and passion; I say "nature" because 
every interest of knowledge and faith was now concentrated on the 
metaphysical or transcendental side of the idea of God. 40 We see 
humanity less occupied with dynamical categories, which theo- 
retical reason is capable of stretching to cover the infinite, than with 
applying to its infinite object numerical categories, 41 reflective 
categories like difference, etc., and mere ideas drawn from sense- 
perception, such as origin, creation, and engendering, and with de- 
riving the characteristics of that object from events in its nature. 
These definitions and subtleties, unlike those in other sciences, were 
not confined to the theologians' study; their public was the whole 
of Christendom. All classes, all ages, both sexes, took an equal 
share in them, and differences of opinion about them roused the 
most deadly hatred, the bloodiest persecutions, and often a com- 
plete disruption of all moral ties and the most sacred relationships. 

40. [When men reflected on God, they looked as it were into a mirror which 
they held up to him for the reflection of his image. What they now saw was 
not an image of moral perfection bur the image of an object, not different in 
kind from natural objects, and therefore amenable to the same categories, 
teleological and other. Thus God became not an ideal summoning men to act 
but only an object to be studied metaphysically.] 

41 . [With this oblique criticism of disputes about the doctrine of the Trinity, 
compare The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate, p. 260. Hegel's terminology here 
is drawn from the section on the Antinomies in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.} 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Such a perversion of nature could only entail a most frightful re- 
venge. 

The purpose which the Christians ascribed to this Infinite Being 
was poles apart from the world's moral goal and purpose; it was 
whittled down not simply to the propagation of Christianity but 
to ends adopted by a single sect or by individuals, particularly 
priests, and suggested by the individual's passions, by vainglory, 
pride, ambition, envy, hatred, and the like. At this early date, how- 
ever, there was still no question of that keystone of our eudaemon- 
ism, 42 its picturesque and comforting theory of Providence. The 
situation of the Christians was for the most part too unhappy for 
them to expect much happiness on earth, and the general concep- 
tion of a church lay too deep in their souls for any individual to ex- 
pect or demand much for himself. And yet their demands were all 
the stronger as soon as they linked their interest with the church's. 
They despised the mundane joys and earthly blessings they had to 
forgo and found ample compensation in heaven. The idea of the 
church took the place of a motherland and a free polity, and the dif- 
ference between these two was that, in the idea of the church, free- 
dom could have no place, and, while the state was complete on 
earth, the church was most intimately connected with heaven. 
Heaven stood so close to the cycle of Christian feelings that the re- 
nunciation of all joys and goods could seem no sacrifice at all, 
and only to those spectators of martyrdom who did not know this 
sense of heaven's nearness was it bound to appear extraordinary. 

Thus the despotism of the Roman emperors had chased the hu- 
man spirit from the earth and spread a misery which compelled 
men to seek and expect happiness in heaven; robbed of freedom, 
their spirit, their eternal and absolute element, was forced to take 

42. [The eudaemonism which Hegel mentions here was a popular philosophy 
in eighteenth-century Germany, deriving from Leibniz and Wolff. Its doc- 
trine was that man's end and aim was happiness, and that happiness meant 
pleasure. It founded a reconciliation between the individual subject and the ob- 
jective world on the doctrine that the world had been created by God's provi- 
dence as the best of all possible worlds, so that human happiness was made 
possible by a pre-established harmony between man and nature.] 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

flight to the deity. [The doctrine of] God's objectivity is a counter- 
part to the corruption and slavery of man, and it is strictly only a 
revelation, only a (228) manifestation of the spirit of the age. This 
spirit was revealed by its conception of God as objective when men 
began to know such a surprising amount about God, when so many 
secrets about his nature, comprised in so many formulas, were no 
longer secrets whispered from ear to ear but were proclaimed on 
the housetops and known to children by heart. The spirit of the 
age was revealed in its objective conception of God when he was 
no longer regarded as like ourselves, though infinitely greater, but 
was put into another world in whose confines we had no part, to 
which we contributed nothing by our activity, but into which, at 
best, we could beg or conjure our way. It was revealed again when 
.man himself became a non-ego and his God another non-ego. Its 
clearest revelation was in the mass of miracles which it engendered 
and which took the place of the individual's reason when decisions 
were made and convictions adopted. But its most dreadful revela- 
tion was when on this God's behalf men fought, murdered, de- 
famed, burned at the stake, stole, lied, and betrayed. In a period 
like this, God must have ceased altogether to be something subjec- 
tive and have entirely become an object, and the perversion of the 
maxims of morality is then easily and logically justified in theory. 
Christians know through God's self-revelation that he is the 
supreme Lord, Lord of heaven and the whole earth, of nature, both 
organic and inorganic, Lord too of the world of mind and spirit. 
To refuse this king the veneration which he has himself ordained is 
inevitably an ingratitude and a crime. This is the system of all the 
churches; differences about who is to judge and punish this crime 
are only secondary. One church administers this judicial office it- 
self. The other condemns in accordance with the system but does 
not lift a finger to execute judgment on earth. It is assured that 
God himself will execute it, and the zeal to help him by warnings, 
by various petty bribes, or by an oppression that only stops short of 
death, seems to be gradually cooling off; sympathy, or a sense of 
impotence, is taking the place of hatred, and this is preferable even 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

if its basis be a pride self-persuaded that it possesses the truth. A 
free man could share neither the zeal nor the sympathy; as a free 
man, living among others equally free, he would grant no one a right 
to try to change and improve him or to interfere with his moral prin- 
ciples, nor would he presume to dispute the right of others to be 
what they are and what they wish, whether good or bad. Piety and 
sin are two concepts which in our sense of the words the Greeks 
lacked; for us the former is a disposition which acts from respect 
for God as lawgiver, and the latter is an (229) action in contraven- 
tion of a divine command. "A7io*> and bva i yiov,pietas and i?npietas, 
express holy human feelings together with the dispositions and ac- 
tions which correspond or are at variance with these. They were 
also called divine commands by the ancienrs, but the commands 
were not regarded as positive or authoritarian. If anyone had been 
able to hit upon the question, "How would you prove the divine 
origin of a command or a prohibition"? he could not have called on 
any historical fact for his answer, but only on the feelings of his 
own heart and the agreement of all good men. 

[ 3 . How A DISINCLINATION FOR MILITARY SERVICE HELPED 

THE SUCCESS OF CHRISTIANITY] 

With the total extinction of political freedom, all interest in the 
state has disappeared, because we take an interest in a thing only 
if we can be active on its behalf. In such a position, when the pur- 
pose of life is whittled down to gaining one's daily bread plus a 
greater or lesser degree of comfort and luxury, and when interest in 
the ,>tate becomes a wholly self-seeking one because it is confined 
to the hope that its persistence will guard the achievement of our 
aims or else achieve them for us, then among the traits discernible 
in the spirit of the time there is necessarily present a disinclination 
for military service, because this service is the opposite of the uni- 
versal wish for quiet and uniform enjoyment. It brings with it hard- 
ships and even death, the loss of the chance to enjoy anything. A 
man whose indolence or debauchery or ennui has left him only 
soldiering as a last resort if he is to earn his living and gratify his 

[164] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

passions, will be nothing but a coward in face of the enemy. Among 
the Romans we find large numbers of men who, in a situation of op- 
pression and political inactivity, escaped military service by flight, 
bribery, or self-mutilation. A nation in this mood must have wel- 
comed a religion which branded the dominant spirit of the age, i.e., 
moral impotence and the dishonor of being trampled underfoot, 
with the name of "passive obedience" and then made it an honor 
and the supreme virtue. This operation gave men a pleasant sur- 
prise because it transformed the contempt felt by others and their 
own sense of disgrace into a glory and a pride. They must have 
welcomed a religion which preached that to shed human blood was 
a sin. For this reason we now see St. Ambrose or St. Antony with 
their numerous flock not hastening to man the walls in defense of 
their city against an approaching horde of barbarians but kneeling 
in the churches and on the streets and imploring God to avert their 
terrifying misfortune. And indeed how could they have willed to 
die in battle? (230) The preservation of the city could only have 
been important to them as a means to the preservation of their 
property and its enjoyment. Therefore, to have exposed themselves 
to the danger of death would have been to do something ridiculous, 
since the means, death, would have forthwith annulled the end, 
property and enjoyment. The sense that in defending one's prop- 
erty one was dying to uphold not so much this property itself as the 
right to it (for to die in defense of a right is to uphold it) was for- 
eign to an oppressed nation which was satisfied to hold its property 
only by grace. 

[ 4. MIRACLES] 

There is a close connection between the need for an objective 
and given religion and the possibility of a belief in miracles. An 
event whose condition is supposed to have been its condition 
only on one single occasion, or a reported observation which can- 
not possibly be lifted into the sphere of our experience, is absolute- 
ly unthinkable by the understanding, and decisions in matters of ex- 
perience are made in a court where the understanding is the sole 
judge. It cannot refrain from thinking of the event's conditions as 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

exhaustive, even if the report of it makes no reference to data of 
that sort, and it thus must abstain from thinking of special and 
unique conditions. If proof be offered that a condition which it now 
envisages did not in fact condition the event in question, then it 
looks for others; if the improbability of every condition which in- 
genuity can excogitate is shown, it does not give up its claim that 
even if this or that condition were absent, there still must have 
been conditions completely determinant of the event. If it now be 
supposed that its fruitless quest for such conditions may be satis- 
fied by the explanation that there is a higher Being who caused the 
event, then the understanding is dumb and speechless because this 
explanation was advanced by someone who had turned his back on 
it and had not addressed it. 

But the imagination is readily satisfied on these lines, and to 
proffer this explanation is to cast one's self onto its field. The un- 
derstanding makes no objection to this and almost laughs at it, but 
it has no interest in depriving imagination of its playthings, since 
nothing further is asked of it in connection with them. It even low- 
ers itself to relinquish or lend its general concept of causality for use 
by the imagination, but it is not the understanding which operates 
if that concept is applied in this way. The reporter of the miracle, 
however, is not content with the understanding's negative attitude 
here; he now clamors and yells about godlessness, blasphemy, and 
knavery. The unbeliever remains unmoved; he sees no connection 
(231) between upholding the rights of his understanding, on the 
one hand, and immorality and irreligion, on the other. 

Now, however, the scene changes. Defenders of miracles turn to 
reason and hold up to it the great moral ends served by these mira- 
cles, the improvement and beatification of the human race. They 
turn to the sense of reason's impotence and kindle the flames of 
imagination. Reason, now helpless, can offer no resistance to these 
terrors and this predominance [of imagination], and in its dread it 
adopts the laws given to it and silences the understanding's protest. 
It is with this mood that the belief in miracles stands or falls. To 
raise questions against miracles on the understanding's ground is al- 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

ways futile; the outcome has always shown that nothing is achieved 
along those lines. Decisions in favor of miracles or against them 
have always depended on the interests of reason. 43 

[PART III: REVISED FORM OF SECTIONS 1-4 
OF PART I] 

[ 1. PREFACE] 

(139) The conception of the "positivity" of a religion has orig- 
inated and become important only in recent times. A positive reli- 
gion is contrasted with natural religion, and this presupposes that 
there is only one natural religion, since human nature is one and 
single, while there may be many positive religions. It is clear from 
this very contrast that a positive religion is a contranatural or a 
supernatural one, containing concepts and information transcending 
understanding and reason and requiring feelings and actions which 
would not come naturally to men: the feelings are forcibly and 
mechanically stimulated, the actions are done to order or from 
obedience without any spontaneous interest. 

It is obvious from this general explanation that, before a religion 
or any part of it can be set down as positive, the concept of human 
nature, and therefore man's relation to God, must first be defined. 
In recent times there has been much preoccupation with this con- 
cept; some have believed that with the concept of man's vocation 44 
as their standard they had a tolerably clear field for proceeding to 
sift religion itself. 

43. [The manuscript breaks off in the middle of the next sentence. Hegel's 
point is that if reason is regarded as self-subsistent, as setting ends before 
itself out of its own nature and independently of anything external, then it has 
no interest in deciding in favor of miracles. But the contrary is the case if, 
as is held by defenders of miracles who appeal to reason, it has ends given 
to it from without and then has to argue in consistency with these. For a 
commentary on this fragment see the note on p. 150 above. Nohl includes 
here (a) another fragment on miracles, first printed in Rosenkranz, HegeYs 
Leben (Berlin, 1844), pp. 510-12, and (b) a fragment on "Positive Religion" 
and Kant's "Postulates of the Practical Reason."] 

44. [Hegel is referring to Fichte's book The Vocation of Man, published a 
few months previously, in the spring of 1 800.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

A long series of stages in cultural development, extending over 
centuries, (140) must have been traversed before a period could 
arrive in which concepts had become abstract enough to allow of 
the conviction that the infinite multiplicity of manifestations of hu- 
man nature had been comprised in the unity of a few universal con- 
cepts. 

Because these simple concepts are universal, they also become 
necessary concepts and characteristics of humanity as a whole. 
Since these characteristics are fixed, the variations in national or 
individual manners, customs, and opinions become accidents, preju- 
dices, and errors, and thus the religion consistent with any of these 
variations is a positive religion because its bearing on accidental 
things is itself an accident, though as part of the religion it is also 
a sacred command. 

The Christian religion has sometimes been reproved, sometimes 
praised, for its consistency with the most varied manners, charac- 
ters, and institutions. It was cradled in the corruption of the Roman 
state; it became dominant when that empire was in the throes of its 
decline, and we cannot see how Christianity could have stayed its 
downfall. On the contrary, Rome's fall extended the scope of 
Christianity's domain, and it appears in the same epoch as the reli- 
gion of the barbarians, who were totally ignorant and savage but 
completely free, and also of the Greeks and Romans, who by this 
time were overcivilized, servile, and plunged in a cesspool of vice. 
It was the religion of the Italian states in the finest period of their 
licentious freedom in the Middle Ages; of the grave and free Swiss 
republics; of the more or less moderate monarchies of modern 
Europe; alike of the most heavily oppressed serfs and their over- 
lords : both attended one church. Headed by the Cross, the Span- 
iards murdered whole generations in America; over the conquest 
of India the English sang Christian thanksgivings. Christianity was 
the mother of the finest blossoms of the plastic arts; it gave rise to 
the tall edifice of the sciences. Yet in its honor too all fine art was 
banned, and the development of the sciences was reckoned an im- 
piety. In all climates the tree of the Cross has grown, taken root, 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

and fructified. Every joy in life has been linked with this faith, 
while the most miserable gloom has found in it its nourishment and 
its justification. 

The general concept of human nature admits of infinite modifi- 
cations; and there is no need of the makeshift of calling experience 
to witness that modifications are necessary and that human nature 
has never been present in its purity. A strict proof of this is possible; 
all that (141) is necessary is to settle the question: "What is human 
nature in its purity?" This expression, u human nature in its pur- 
ity," should imply no more than accordance with the general con- 
cept. But the living nature of man is always other than the concept 
of the same, and hence what for the concept is a bare modification, 
a pure accident, a superfluity, becomes a necessity, something liv- 
ing, perhaps the only thing which is natural and beautiful. 

Now this gives quite a different appearance to the criterion for 
the positivity of religion which was set up at the start. The general 
concept of human nature is no longer adequate. The [concept of the] 
freedom of the will is a one-sided standard, because human manners 
and characteristics together with the accompanying religion cannot 
be determined by concepts at all. In every form of cultural life, 
there must have been produced a consciousness of a superior power 
together with ideas transcending understanding and reason. If man's 
common life does not afford the feelings which nature demands, 
then forcible institutions become necessary to generate these feel- 
ings, to which, of course, some remnant of force still adheres. So 
too the actions demanded by the most natural religion come to be 
done only to order and out of blind obedience, but in times when 
everything has become unnatural they would likewise be left un- 
done. Of course religion has become positive at this stage, but 
it has only become so; it was not so originally. Religion has to 
become positive at this stage, or there would be no religion at all. 
It survives in these circumstances only as an alien inheritance of 
bygone times; its demands are now respected, and perhaps all the 
more honored and feared, the more their essence is unknown. To 
shudder before an unknown Being; to renounce one's will in one's 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

conduct; to subject one's self throughout like a machine to given 
rules; to abandon intellect altogether in action or renunciation, in 
speech or silence; and to lull one's self into a brief or a lifelong in- 
sensibility all this may be "natural," and a religion which breathes 
this spirit would not on that account be positive, because it would 
accord with the nature of its time. A nature demanded by such 
a religion would doubtless be a deplorable one; but the religion 
would have fulfilled its purpose by giving this nature the only higher 
Being in which it found satisfaction and with which it was compati- 
ble. When another mood awakens, when this nature begins to have 
a sense of itself and thereby to demand freedom in and for itself in- 
stead of placing it in its supreme Being, then and only then can its 
former religion begin to appear a positive one. The universal con- 
cepts of human nature are too empty to afford a criterion for the 
special and necessarily multiplex needs of religious feeling. 

(142) The foregoing paragraphs will have been misunderstood 
if they are taken to contain a justification for all the pretensions of 
established religions, for all superstition, all church despotism, or 
all the obtuseness generated or encouraged by pseudo-religious in- 
stitutions. No! The most stubborn and weak-minded superstition 
is not positive at all for a soulless being in human form; but if a 
soul awakens in him, then, should the superstition persist in its 
claims, it becomes positive for him though he had submitted to it 
till then quite ingenuously. To the judgment of someone else, how- 
ever, the superstition is of necessity something positive all the time, 
simply because he could not make his judgment at all unless an ideal 
of humanity hovered before his mind. An ideal of human nature, 
however, is quite different from general concepts of man's vocation 
or of man's relation to God. The ideal does permit of particulariza- 
tion, of determination in detail, and therefore it demands appropri- 
ate religious actions, feelings, usages, demands an excess of these, 
a mass of excessiveness which in the lamplight of general concepts 
seems only ice and stone. Only if this excess annuls freedom does it 
become positive, i.e., if it has pretensions against understanding and 
reason and contradicts their necessary laws. 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

The universality of this criterion must therefore be restricted, 
because understanding and reason can be judges only if appeal is 
made to them. What never claims to be intellectual or rational 
cannot fall under their jurisdiction. This is a crucial point, and it is 
its neglect which produces such opposite judgments. Understand- 
ing and reason may claim to sit in judgment on everything; they 
readily pretend that everything should be intellectual and rational. 
Hence they descry positivity easily enough, and the screams about 
mental slavery, superstition, and suppression of conscience con- 
tinue without end. The most ingenuous actions, the most innocent 
feelings, and the most beautiful imaginative pictures all experience 
this harsh treatment. But its effect accords with its inappropriate- 
ness. Intellectualistic people believe that their words are true when 
they address feeling, imagination, and religious needs in intellec- 
tualistic terms; they cannot conceive why their truth is resisted, 
why they preach to deaf ears. Their mistake is to offer stones to 
the child who asks for bread. Their wares are useful if it is a matter 
of building a house. But anyone who claimed that bread was fit for 
housebuilding would also be properly contradicted. 

Actions, passions, and associations may all count as sacrosanct 
in a religion. Reason proves their accidentality and claims that 
everything sacrosanct is eternal and imperishable. But that does not 
amount (143) to a proof that these religious matters are positive, 
because imperishability and sacrosanctity may be linked with ac- 
cidentality and must be linked with something accidental; in think- 
ing of the eternal, we must link the eternal with the accidentality of 
our thinking. It is another thing altogether if the accidental as such, 
i.e., as what it is for the understanding, makes claims to imperish- 
ability, sacrosanctity, and veneration; at that point reason's right 
to speak of positivity does come on the scene. 

The question whether a religion is positive affects the content 
of its doctrines and precepts far less than the form in which it au- 
thenticates the truth of its doctrines and requires the fulfilment of 
its precepts. Any doctrine, any precept, is capable of becoming 
positive, since anything can be proclaimed in a forcible way with a 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

suppression of freedom; and there is no doctrine which might not be 
true in certain circumstances, no precept which might not impose 
a duty in certain circumstances, since what may hold good univer- 
sally as truth unalloyed requires some qualification, because of its 
universality, in the particular circumstances of its application; i.e., 
it is not unconditionally true in all circumstances. 

For this reason the following essay does not profess to inquire 
whether there are positive commands and doctrines in the Christian 
religion. An answer to this question in accordance with universal 
concepts of human nature and God's attributes is too empty; the 
frightful chatter, endlessly prolonged in this key and inwardly 
vacuous, has become so wearisome that it is now utterly devoid of 
interest. Hence what our time needs instead perhaps is to hear some- 
one proving the very opposite of what results from this "enlighten- 
ing" application of universal concepts, though of course such a 
proof would not proceed on the principles and the method proffered 
to the old dogmatic theologians by the culture of their day. On the 
contrary, it would derive that now discarded theology from what 
we now know as a need of human nature and would thus exhibit its 
naturalness and inevitability. 

An attempt to do this presupposes the belief that the convictions 
of many centuries, regarded as sacrosanct, true, and obligatory by 
the millions who lived and died by them in those centuries, were 
not, at least on their subjective side, downright folly or plain im- 
morality. If the whole fabric of dogmatic theology is expounded, 
on the favorite method of using general concepts, as a relic of the 
Dark Ages, untenable in an enlightened epoch, we are still humane 
enough to raise the question: How is it possible to explain the con- 
struction of a fabric which is so repugnant to human reason and so 
erroneous through and through? 

One answer is an appeal to church history, which is made to 
show how (144) simple and fundamental truths became gradually 
overlaid with a heap of errors owing to passion and ignorance, and 
to prove that, in this centuries-long and gradual process of defining 
the several dogmas, the Fathers were not always led by knowledge, 

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POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

moderation, and reason; that, even in the original reception of 
Christianity, what was operative was not simply a pure love of 
truth but, at least to some extent, very mixed motives, very unholy 
considerations, impure passions, and spiritual needs often springing 
solely from superstition; and that in short the faith of nations was 
formed by circumstances alien to religion, by selfish purposes, by 
force and cunning, and in accordance with the ends of these. 

But this method of explaining the matter presupposes a deep con- 
tempt for man and the presence of glaring superstition in his intel- 
lect; and it leaves the main problem untouched, namely, the prob- 
lem of showing religion's appropriateness to nature through all na- 
ture's modifications from one century to another. In other words, 
the sole question raised on these lines is the question about the 
truth of religion in abstraction from the manners and characteristics 
of the nations and epochs which believed it, and the answer to this 
question is that religion is empty superstition, deception, and stupid- 
ity. Most of the fault is imputed to sense [rather than to reason], 
and it is supposed to have been to blame for everything. But how- 
ever much dominion is ascribed to sense, man still does not cease to 
be a rational being; or, at any rate, his nature always and necessarily 
has religious feeling as one of its higher needs, and the way he sat- 
isfies it, i.e., the system of his faith, his worship, and his duties, can 
never have been either stupidity unalloyed or that impure stupidity 
which leaves room for immorality of every kind. 

The avowed aim of this essay is not to inquire whether Chris- 
tianity includes doctrines which are positive, but whether it is a pos- 
itive religion as a whole. These two inquiries may coincide in so 
far as the thesis that Christianity is (or is not) positive might, be- 
cause of the inferences to be drawn from it, impinge on matters of 
divinity, and thus there would in fact be an inquiry into the positiv- 
ity of a particular doctrine. To be sure, consideration of Christian- 
ity as a whole may be pursued separately and in juxtaposition to 
consideration of particular doctrines, and this would make it only 
one part of the whole inquiry; but its content would nevertheless 
always concern the whole rather than the parts. Moreover, as was 

[173] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mentioned above, the question about positivity does not affect the 
content of a religion so much as the way in which the religion is 
conceived, i.e., whether as something given throughout or as some- 
thing given qua free and freely received. 

Further, this essay excludes from consideration not only the in- 
finitely varied forms which the Christian religion has had in various 
epochs and (145) in various nations, but also the character which 
the Christian religion might bear in our own day. Nothing has so 
many different meanings as the modern conception of what Chris- 
tianity is, either in its essence, or in its particular doctrines and their 
importance or their relation to the whole. No, the aim of this essay 
is to examine (a) whether in the first beginnings of the Christian 
faith, in the manner of its origin on Jesus' lips and in his life, there 
were circumstances which might provide a direct inducement to 
positivity, so that mere accidents were taken to be things of eternal 
validity; and (b) whether the Christian religion as a whole was 
founded on an accident of this kind, a thesis which would be re- 
jected by a reasonable man and repelled by a free one. 

The accident from which a necessity has been supposed to pro- 
ceed, the transitory thing on which man's consciousness of an eter- 
nal truth, and his relation to it in feeling, thinking, and acting has 
been supposed to be grounded, is called, in general terms, "author- 

ity" 

In asserting that the Christian religion is grounded on author- 
ity, two parties speak with one voice. They agree that of course it 
rests on man's natural sense of the good or on his longing for it and 
presupposes that man looks up to God, but they go on to hold that, 
with a view to giving men a faith in the possession of God's favor, 
Jesus requires not simply that pure and free obedience to the infinite 
God which the soul possessed of a pure religion demands of itself 
but also an obedience to specific precepts and commands about ac- 
tions, feelings, and co*wictions. The two parties who agree in this 
opinion differ, however, in this respect: one of them holds this 
positive element in a pure religion to be inessential and even repre- 
hensible, and for this reason will not allow even to the religion of 

[174] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

Jesus the distinction of being a free virtue religion. The other, on 
the contrary, puts the pre-eminence of Jesus' religion precisely in 
this positive element, declares this element to be the truly sacro- 
sanct one, and proposes to build all morality thereon. 

The question "What directly induced the religion of Jesus to 
become positive?" cannot be raised by the second party, because it 
claims that Jesus' religion issued from his lips as a positive doctrine. 
On this view, faith in all his teaching, in the laws of virtue, in the 
relation of God to man, was demanded by Jesus solely on his au- 
thority and on the upholding of that authority by miracles, etc. This 
party holds that what Sittah says in Nathan of the Christians is no 
reproach: "The faith their founder seasoned with humanity the 
Christians love, not because it is humane, but because Christ taught 
it, because Christ practiced it." The general possibility of any posi- 
tive (146) religion this party explains on the ground that human 
nature has needs which it cannot itself satisfy, that indeed its high- 
est needs are of this sort, and that this entails contradictions which 
it cannot resolve and which have to be resolved out of compassion 
by a Being who is alien to man. 

To pronounce to be equally positive not only the religious teach- 
ings and commands but also all the moral laws which Jesus gave, 
and to find the validity of the latter and the possibility of coming 
at a knowledge of them solely in the fact that Jesus commanded 
them, betrays a humble modesty and a resignation which disclaims 
any native goodness, nobility, and greatness in human nature. But 
if only it is willing to understand itself, this humble attitude must 
at least presuppose that man has a natural sense or consciousness of 
a supersensible world and an obligation to the divine. If nothing 
whatever in our own hearts responded to an external challenge to 
virtue and religion, if there were no strings in our own nature from 
which this challenge resounded, then Jesus' endeavor to inspire men 
to virtue and a better religion would have had the same character 
and the same outcome as St. Anthony of Padua's zeal in preaching 
to fish; the saint too might have trusted that what his sermon could 
not do and what the nature of the fish would never have allowed 

[175] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

might yet have been effected by assistance from above, by a Being 
completely outside the world. 

This view of the relation between man and the Christian religion 
cannot in itself exactly be called positive; it rests on the surely 
beautiful presupposition that everything high, noble, and good in 
man is divine, that it comes from God and is his spirit, issuing from 
himself. But this view becomes glaringly positive if human nature 
is absolutely severed from the divine, if no mediation between the 
two is conceded except in one isolated individual, if all man's con- 
sciousness of the good and the divine is degraded to the dull and 
killing belief in a superior Being altogether alien to man. 

It is obvious that an examination of this question cannot be 
thoughtfully and thoroughly pursued without becoming in the 
end a metaphysical treatment of the relation between the finite 
and the infinite. But this is not the aim of this essay; I am here 
assuming from the start that human nature itself of necessity needs 
to recognize a Being who transcends our consciousness of human 
agency, to make the intuition of that Being's perfection the animat- 
ing spirit of human life, and to devote time, feelings, and organiza- 
tions directly to this (147) intuition, independently of aims of other 
kinds. This universal need for religion includes in itself many spe- 
cialized needs : How far does their satisfaction devolve on nature? 
How far can nature itself resolve the self-contradictions into which 
it falls? Does the Christian religion contain their only possible reso- 
lution? Does their resolution lie altogether outside nature and can 
man grasp it only via a passive faith? These questions together with 
their development and an examination of their true significance may 
perhaps find a place elsewhere. The solution which the Christian 
religion propounds to these riddles of the human heart or, if the ex- 
pression be preferred, of the practical reason, may be examined by 
reason superficially or from an external point of view, i.e.; isolated 
specific doctrines or isolated specific actions may be examined in- 
stead of the solution as a whole. If after such an examination reason 
declares these doctrines or these actions to be merely contingent, 
we must make the general comment that it must not be forgotten 

[176] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

that the contingent is only one aspect of what counts as sacrosanct. 
If a religion attaches an eternal significance to something transient 
and if reason fixes its eye on the transient element alone and cries 
out about superstition, then reason is to blame for setting to work 
superficially and overlooking the eternal element. 

In the following essay the doctrines and commands of the Chris- 
tian religion will not be measured by this criterion of general con- 
cepts; nor will this criterion be used to judge whether they are im- 
plied in these concepts, whether they contradict them, or whether 
at best they are superfluities and therefore nonrational and unneces- 
sary. Accidentals of this kind lose their accidental character by hav- 
ing something eternal linked with them, and therefore they neces- 
sarily have two aspects. It is the analytic reason which separates 
these aspects; in religion they are not separated. General concepts 
cannot be applied to religion, or rather to religious experience, be- 
cause this is itself no concept. We are not concerned in this essay 
with accidentals which are first made such by abstract reflection, 
but only with those which, as the content of religion, are supposed 
by religion itself to subsist as accidental, to have high significance 
despite their transience, to be sacrosanct and worthy of veneration 
despite their restricted and finite character; and my inquiry is lim- 
ited to the question whether such accidentals were present in the 
immediate foundation of the Christian religion, in the teachings, 
actions, and fate of Jesus himself; whether, in the form of his teach- 
ings, in his relationships with other men, both friends and ene- 
mies, such accidentals appeared which either of themselves or ow- 
ing to circumstances came to have an importance not belonging to 
them originally; in other words, whether in the immediate (148) 
origin of the Christian religion there were inducements to its be- 
coming positive. 

[ 2. JUDAISM] 

The Jewish people, which utterly abhorred and despised all sur- 
rounding peoples, wished to remain on its solitary pinnacle and per- 
sist in its own ways, its own manners, and its own conceit. Any 
equalization with others or union with them through a change in 

[177] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

manners was in its eyes a horrible abomination; and yet multiplex 
relations with others were imposed on it by the situation of its 
small country, by trade connections, and by the national unifications 
brought about by the Romans. The Jewish desire for isolation was 
bound to succumb to the pressure of other peoples toward union; it 
was worsted again after battles made all the more frightful the 
more the Jews were peculiar, and when their state was subjected to 
a foreign power they were deeply mortified and embittered. Hence- 
forth the Jews clung all the more obstinately to the statutory com- 
mands of their religion; they derived their legislation directly from 
a jealous God. An essential of their religion was the performance 
of a countless mass of senseless and meaningless actions, and the 
pedantically slavish spirit of the people had prescribed a rule for the 
most trivial actions of daily life and given the whole nation the look 
of a monastic order. Virtue and the service of God was a life filled 
with compulsions dictated by dead formulas. Of spirit nothing re- 
mained save obstinate pride in slavish obedience to laws not made 
by themselves. But this obstinacy could not hold out against the 
fate which was falling on them with ever increasing speed and with 
a weight which grew heavier from day to day. Their whole polity 
was dismembered once and for all. Their mania for segregation had 
been unable to resist political subjection and effective linkage with 
the foreigner. 

In this plight of the Jewish people there must have been men of 
finer clay who could not deny their feeling of selfhood or stoop to 
become lifeless machines or men of a maniacally servile disposition; 
and there must inevitably have been aroused in them a need for a 
freer activity and a purer independence than an existence with no 
self-consciousness, than a life spent in a monkish preoccupation 
with petty, mechanical, spiritless, and trivial usages, a need for a 
nobler pleasure than pride in this mechanical slavery and frenzy in 
fulfilling its demands. Human nature rebelled against this situation 
and produced the most varied reactions, such as the rise of numer- 
ous bands of robbers and numerous Messiahs, the strict and monk- 
like Judaism of the Pharisees, the Sadducean mixture of this with 

[178] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

freedom and politics, the anchorite brotherhoods (149) of the Es- 
senes with their freedom from the passions and cares of their peo- 
ple, the enlightening of Judaism by the finer blooms of a deeper hu- 
man nature in Platonism, the rise of John [the Baptist] and his pub- 
lic preaching to the multitude, and finally the appearance of Jesus. 

[ 3. JESUS] 

Jesus attacked the evil of his nation at its roots, i.e., their arro- 
gant and hostile segregation from all other peoples. He wished to 
lead them to the God of all mankind, to the love of all men, to the 
renunciation of their lifeless, spiritless, and mechanical worship. 
For this reason his new teaching led to a religion for the world 
rather than for his nation alone, and this is a proof of how deeply 
he had seized the needs of his age and how far the Jews were sunk 
in their frenzied slavery of spirit, in a situation from which good- 
ness was irretrievably absent. 

On the interesting question of how Jesus' development ripened, 
no information whatever has come down to us. It is in manhood 
that he first appears, and by that time he was free from the Jewish 
mentality, free from the inhibited inertia which expends its one activ- 
ity on the common needs and conveniences of life, free too from the 
ambition and other passions whose satisfaction would have com- 
pelled him to make terms with prejudice and vice. His whole man- 
ner suggests that, though brought up among his own people, he 
stood aloof from them (of course, for longer than for forty days) 
and became animated by the enthusiasm of a reformer. And yet his 
mode of acting and speaking carries no traces of the culture or re- 
ligion of any other people contemporary with him. He comes on the 
scene all at once with a young man's joyful hope and undoubting 
confidence in success. The resistance offered to him by the rooted 
prejudices of his people he seems not to have expected. He seemed 
to have forgotten that the spirit of free religion had been killed in 
his nation and that its place was taken by an obstinate mania for 
servility. He thought to turn the hearts of his obdurate people by 
simple addresses and by preaching to multitudes in his wanderings 

[179] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

from place to place; he regarded his twelve friends, despite their 
short acquaintance with him, as capable of producing this result. 
He regarded his nation as mature enough to be roused and changed 
by this commission given to men who were immature and who in 
the sequel revealed ever so many shortcomings and who could do no 
more than repeat the words of Jesus. Only through the bitter ex- 
perience of the fruitlessness of his efforts did the ingenuous youth 
fade away and give place to a man who spoke with bitter vehe- 
mence, with a heart exasperated by hostile resistance. 

The Jews hoped for a perfection of their theocracy, for a King- 
dom of God, in the future. Jesus said to them of this Kingdom: It 
has come; (150) it is now here; faith in it makes it real, and every- 
one is a citizen of it. With the peasant's haughtiness which was 
characteristic of the Jews there necessarily went that sense of their 
nullity which slavery to their law must always have given to them. 
The sole task, a hard one indeed, was to give them a sense of their 
selfhood, to make them believe that they, like the carpenter's son, 
despite the miserable existence they actually led, were capable of 
becoming members of the Kingdom of God; freedom from the 
yoke of the law was the negative element in this belief. Hence 
what Jesus attacked above everything else was the dead mechanism 
of their religious life. The Jewish law had become so corrupt that 
a mass of evasions was devised as a means of getting round even 
its better elements. Of course, Jesus could achieve little either 
against the united force of a deeply rooted national pride and an 
hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness interwoven with the whole con- 
stitution or against the domination which the leaders of the people 
had founded on these. Jesus had the pain of seeing the complete 
failure of his zealous attempt to introduce freedom and morality 
into the religious life of his people, and the very ambiguous and 
incomplete effect 46 even of his efforts to kindle higher hopes and a 
better faith at least in those few men with whom he was more in- 
timately associated and whom he sought to shape for their own 

45. [The same examples are given here as in the footnote to the earlier ver- 
sion, see above, p. 70.] 

[180] 



POSITIVITY OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION 

good and the support of his enterprise. Jesus himself was sacrificed 
to the rising hatred of the priesthood and the mortified national 
vanity of the Jews. 

It is very natural to expect that, once the new teaching of Jesus 
had been adopted by Jewish intellects, it must have turned into 
something positive, however free it was in itself despite its polemi- 
cal form. They would be likely to manufacture out of it in some 
way or other something which they could slavishly serve. We can 
see that the religion Jesus carried in his own heart was free from 
the spirit of his people. Anything in his utterances which smacks of 
superstition, e.g., the dominion of evil spirits over men, is decried 
by some people as horribly senseless, while others are forced to 
redeem it by using the concepts of "accommodation" to "contem- 
porary ideas," etc. For our part, what we have to say about any 
of these things which have to be regarded as superstition is that it 
does not belong to the religion of Jesus. In other respects the soul 
of Jesus was free from dependence on accidental trivialities; the 
one essential was love of God and one's neighbor and being holy as 
God is holy. This religious purity (151) is of course extremely re- 
markable in a Jew. We do see his successors renouncing Jewish 
trivialities, but they are not altogether purified of the spirit of de- 
pendence on such things. Out of what Jesus said, out of what he 
suffered in his person, they soon fashioned rules and moral com- 
mands, and free emulation of their teacher soon passed over into 
slavish service of their Lord. 

Now what is the accidental element which was present in Jesus' 
mode of speaking and acting and which was capable of being taken 
as accidental and yet as sacrosanct, as accidental and yet as so high- 
ly venerable? 

Our intention is not to investigate, etc. [as on p. 74 above]. 



[181] 



II 

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 
AND ITS FATE 

[ i. THE SPIRIT OF JUDAISM] 

(243) With Abraham, the true progenitor of the Jews, the his- 
tory of this people begins, i.e., his spirit is the unity, the soul, regu- 
lating the entire fate of his posterity. This spirit appears in a dif- 
ferent guise after every one of its battles against different forces or 
after becoming sullied by adopting an alien nature as a result of 
succumbing to might or seduction. Thus it appears in a different 
form either as arms and conflict or else as submission to the fetters 
of the stronger; this latter form is called "fate." 

Of the course taken by the development of the human race be- 
fore Abraham, of this important period in which men strove by 
various routes to revert fr6m barbarism, which followed the loss of 
the state of nature, to the unity 1 which had been broken, of this 
course only a few dim traces have been preserved to us. The im- 
pression made on men's hearts by the flood in the time of Noah 
must have been a deep distraction (244) and it must have caused the 
most prodigious disbelief in nature. Formerly friendly or tranquil, 
nature now abandoned the equipoise of her elements, now requited 
the faith the human race had in her with the most destructive, in- 
vincible, irresistible hostility; in her fury she spared nothing; she 
made none of the distinctions which love might have made but 
poured savage devastation over everything. 

Certain phenomena, reactions to the impression derived from 
this general manslaughter by hostile elements, have been indicated 
to us by history. If man was to hold out against the outbursts of a 

1. [I.e., the unity of man with nature. For Hegel's conception of this unity 
as a unity of life see below, iv.] 

[182] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

nature now hostile, nature had to be mastered; and since the whole 
can be divided only into idea and reality, so also the supreme unity 
of mastery lies either in something thought or in something real. 2 
It was in a thought-product that Noah built the distracted world 
together again; his thought-produced ideal he turned into a [real] 
Being 3 and then set everything else over against it, so that in this 
opposition realities were reduced to thoughts, i.e., to something 
mastered. This Being promised him ta confine within their limits 
the elements which were his servants, so that no flood was ever 
again to destroy mankind. Among living things, things capable of 
being mastered in this way, 4 men were subjected to the law, to the 
command so to restrain themselves as not to kill one another; to 
overstep these restraints was to fall under the power of this Being 
and so to become lifeless. For being mastered in this way man was 
recompensed by being given mastery over animals; but while this 
single rending of life the killing of plants and animals was sanc- 
tioned and while enmities [between man and nature] which need 
made inevitable were turned into a legal mastery, life was yet so 
far respected that men were prohibited from eating the blood of 
animals because in it lay the life, the soul, of the animals (Genesis 
ix. 4). 6 

2. [This distinction between thought and fact, ideal and real, permeates 
much of this essay. Where two things are utterly hostile to each other, they 
can come into relationship only if one becomes the master and the other the 
mastered. Nimrod attempted to be the master of nature, but he failed because 
he was only a natural reality, part of the nature he wished to dominate. Things 
(which Hegel here calls realities) can be mastered only by thought: "things 
are, but he who can think what they are is their master" (Hegel's Philosophy of 
Religion, Lasson's ed., Part II, ii, p. 5). For the thinker, the subject, things have 
no self-subsistence; they lose their reality and become "ideal." By conceiving 
God as one and as a conscious subject and as absolute power in virtue of his 
subjectivity, Judaism has risen above the oriental religions and taken the first 
step toward a true conception of God as spirit (ibid., p. 58). Cf. below, p. 191 .] 

3. [Noah's (and Abraham's) ideal is conceived in thought, but it is more 
than a concept, for he ascribes existence to it; i.e., he conceives of God as a 
thinker who, as thinker, is lord of the realities which are the objects of his 
thought.] 

4. [I.e., capable of understanding a law and so of coming under its sway.] 

5. ["But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not 
eat."] 

[183] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Per contra (if I may be allowed here to link with the Mosaic 
chronicles the corresponding exposition which Josephus Antiquities 
of the Jews i. 4 gives of Nimrod's history) , Nimrod placed the unity 
in man and installed him as the being who was to make the other 
realities into thoughts, i.e., to kill and master them. He endeavored 
(245) so far to master nature that it could no longer be dangerous to 
men. He put himself in a state of defense against it, "a rash man and 
one boasting in the strength of his arm. In the event of God's having 
a mind to overwhelm the world with a flood again, he threatened to 
neglect no means and no power to make an adequate resistance to 
Him. For he had resolved to build a tower which was to be far 
higher than the waves and streams could ever rise and in this way 
to avenge the downfall of his forefathers" (according to another 
tale, Eupolemus in Eusebius, 6 the tower was to have been built by 
the very survivors of the flood.) "He persuaded men that they had 
acquired all good things for themselves by their own courage and 
strength; and in this way he altered everything and in a short time 
founded a despotic tyranny." He united men after they had become 
mistrustful, estranged from one another, and now ready to scatter. 
But the unity he gave them was not a reversion to a cheerful social 
life in which they trusted nature and one another; he kept them 
together indeed, but by force. He defended himself against water 
by walls; he was a hunter and a king. In this battle against need, 
therefore, the elements, animals, and men had to endure the law of 
the stronger, though the law of a living being. 

Against the hostile power [of nature] Noah saved himself by 
subjecting both it and himself to something more powerful; Nim- 
rod, by taming it himself. Both made a peace of necessity with the 
foe and thus perpetuated the hostility. Neither was reconciled with 
it, unlike a more beautiful 7 pair, Deucalion and Pyrrha, who, after 

6. [Praeparatio evangelic* ix. 17 (Nohl). In this passage Eusebius quotes 
from Alexander Polyhistor as follows : "Eupolemus says in his book Concerning 
the Jews that the Assyrian city Babylon was first founded by those who escaped 
from the flood, and that they were giants and built the historically famous tow- 
er."] 

7. [Schimres always the word which Hegel uses in connection with Greece. 
When he uses it in the sequel, it is always of Greek life that he is thinking.] 

[184] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

the flood in their time, invited men once again to friendship with the 
world, to nature, made them forget their need and their hostility in 
joy and pleasure, made a peace of love, were the progenitors of 
more beautiful peoples, and made their age the mother of a new- 
born natural life which maintained its bloom of youth. 

Abraham, born in Chaldaea, had in youth already left a father- 
land in his father's company. Now, in the plains of Mesopotamia, 
he tore himself free altogether from his family as well, in order to 
be a wholly self-subsistent, independent man, to be an overlord 
himself. He did this without having been injured or disowned, with- 
out the grief which after a wrong or an outrage signifies love's en- 
during need, when love, injured indeed but not lost, goes in quest 
of a new fatherland in order to flourish and enjoy itself there. The 
first act which made Abraham the progenitor of a nation is a dis- 
severance which snaps the bonds of communal life and love. The 
entirety of the relationships in which (246) he had hitherto lived 
with men and nature, these beautiful relationships of his youth 
(Joshua xxiv. 2), 8 he spurned. 

Cadmus, Danaus, etc., had forsaken their fatherland too, but 
they forsook it in battle; they went in quest of a soil where they 
would be free and they sought it that they might love. Abraham 
wanted not to love, wanted to be free by not loving. Those others, 
in order to live in pure, beautiful, unions, as was no longer given 
to them in their own land, carried these gods 9 forth with them. 
Abraham wanted to be free from these very relationships, while 
the others by their gentle arts and manners won over the less 
civilized aborigines and intermingled with them to form a happy 
and gregarious people. 

The same spirit which had carried Abraham away from his kin 

8. ["And Joshua said unto all the people .... Your fathers dwelt on the 
other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, .... 
and they served other gods." In another draft (Nohl, p. 368), Hegel interprets 
this relationship of Abraham's forebears to "other gods" as one "animated by 
imagination,' 7 i.e., he assumes that their religious life at that time was sim- 
ilar to the Greek.] 

9. [I.e., the imaginatively conceived gods of their former life, the gods 
whom Abraham had left behind.] 

[185] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

led him through his encounters with foreign peoples during the rest 
of his life; this was the spirit of self-maintenance in strict opposition 
to everything the product of his thought raised to be the unity 
dominant over the nature which he regarded as infinite and hostile 
(for the only relationship possible between hostile entities is mas- 
tery of one by the other). With his herds Abraham wandered 
hither and thither over a boundless territory without bringing parts 
of it any nearer to him by cultivating and improving them. Had he 
done so, he would have become attached to them and might have 
adopted them as parts of his world. The land was simply given over 
to his cattle for grazing. The water slept in deep wells without liv- 
ing movement; digging for it was laborious; it was dearly bought or 
struggled for, an extorted property, a necessary requirement for 
him and his cattle. The groves which often gave him coolness and 
shade he soon left again; in them he had theophanies, appearances 
of his perfect Object on High, but he did not tarry in them with the 
love which would have made them worthy of the Divinity and par- 
ticipant in Him. He was a stranger on earth, a stranger to the soil 
and to men alike. Among men he always was and remained a for- 
eigner, yet not so far removed from them and independent of them 
that he needed to know nothing of them whatever, to have nothing 
whatever to do with them. The country was so populated before- 
hand that in his travels he continually stumbled on men already pre- 
viously united in small tribes. He entered into no such tics; he re- 
quired their corn indeed, yet nevertheless he struggled against his 
fate, the fate which would have proffered him a stationary com- 
munal life with others. He steadily persisted in cutting himself off 
from others, and he made this conspicuous by a physical peculiarity 
imposed on himself and his posterity. When surrounded by might- 
ier people, as in Egypt and Gerar, in dealing with kings who in- 
tended no evil, he was suspicious and resorted to cunning and du- 
plicities. Where he thought he was the stronger, as (247) in oppos- 
ing the five kings, he fell about him with the sword. With others 
who brought no difficulties on him, he carefully kept his relations 
on a legal footing. What he needed, he bought; from the good- 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

natured Ephron he absolutely refused to take Sarah's burial place 
as a gift. He shrank from relating himself to an equal on a footing 
of grateful feelings. Even his son he forbade to marry any Canaanit- 
ish woman but made him take a wife from his kinsfolk, and they 
lived at a great distance from him. 

The whole world Abraham regarded as simply his opposite; if 
die did not take it to be a nullity, he looked on it as sustained by the 
God who was alien to it. Nothing in nature was supposed to have 
"any part in God; everything was simply under God's mastery. 
Abraham, as the opposite of the whole world, could have had no 
higher mode of being than that of the other term in the opposition, 
and thus he likewise was supported by God. Moreover, it was 
through God alone that Abraham came into a mediate relation with 
the world, the only kind of link with the world possible for him. 
His Ideal subjugated the world to him, gave him as much of the 
world as he needed, and put him in security against the rest. Love 
alone was beyond his power; even the one love he had, his love for 
his son, even his hope of posterity the one mode of extending his 
being, the one mode of immortality he knew and hoped for could 
depress him, trouble his all-exclusive heart and disquiet it to such an 
extent that even this love he once wished to destroy; and his heart 
was quieted only through the certainty of the feeling that this love 
was not so strong as to render him unable to slay his beloved son 
with his own hand. 

Mastery was the only possible relationship in which Abraham 
could stand to the infinite world opposed to him; but he was unable 
himself to make this mastery actual, and it therefore remained 
ceded to his Ideal. He himself also stood under his Ideal's domin- 
ion, but the Idea was present in his mind, he served the Idea, and so 
he enjoyed his Ideal's favor;^ / and since its divinity was rooted in 

10. [Hegel is here using Kant's distinction between idea and ideal. See 
^Critique of Pure Reason, A 568-69: "Ideas are even further removed from ob- 
jective reality than are categories, for no appearance can be found in which they 

t can be represented in concrete But what I entitle the ideal seems to be fur- 

' ther removed from objective reality even than the idea. By the ideal I under- 
stand the idea, not merely in concrete, but in individuo Human wisdom in 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

his contempt for the whole world, he remained its only favorite. 
Hence Abraham's God is essentially different from the Lares and 
the national gods. A family which reverences its Lares, and a nation 
which reverences its national god, has admittedly also isolated it- 
self, partitioned what is unitary [i.e., human life], and shut others 
out of its god's share. But, while doing so, it has conceded the 
existence of other shares; instead of reserving the immeasurable to 
itself and banishing others therefrom, it grants to others (248) equal 
rights with itself; it recognizes the Lares and gods of others as 
Lares and gods. On the other hand, in the jealous God of Abraham 
and his posterity there lay the horrible claim that He alone was God 
and that this nation was the only one to have a god. 

But when it was granted to his descendants to attain a condition 
less sundered from their ideal when they themselves were power- 
ful enough to actualize their idea of unity then they exercised 
their dominion mercilessly with the most revolting and harshest 
tyranny, and utterly extirpated all life; for it is only over death that 
unity hovers. Thus the sons of Jacob avenged with satanic atrocity 
the outraging of their sister even though the Shechemites had tried 
to make amends with unexampled generosity. Something alien had 
been mingled with their family, had put itself into connection with 
them, and so willed to disturb their segregation. Outside the in- 
finite unity in which nothing but they, the favorites, can share, 
everything is matter (the Gorgon's head turned everything to 
stone), a stuff, loveless, with no rights, something accursed which, 
as soon as they have power enough, they treat as accursed and then 
assign to its proper place [death] if it attempts to stir. 

As Joseph acquired power in Egypt, he introduced the political 
hierarchy whereby all Egyptians were brought into the same rela- 
tion to the king as that in which, in Joseph's Idea, everything stood 
to his god i.e., he made his Deity "real." By means of the corn 



its complete purity, and virtue, are ideas. The wise man of the Stoics, however, 
is an ideal, i.e. a man existing in thought only, but in complete conformity with 
the idea of wisdom" (Kemp Smith's translation).] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

which they had handed over to him and with which he now fed 
them during the famine, he acquired all their money, then all their 
beasts, their horses, their sheep, their goats, their cattle, and their 
asses, then all the land and their persons; their entire existence he 
made the king's property. 

To the fate against which Abraham, and hitherto Jacob also, had 
struggled, i.e., possession of an abiding dwelling place and attach- 
ment to a nation, Jacob finally succumbed. This situation he entered 
contrary to his spirit, through stress of circumstances, and by acci- 
dent, and, the more this was so, the more hardly must it have 
pressed upon him and his descendants. The spirit which led them 
out of this slavery and then organized them into an independent na- 
tion works and is matured from this point onward in more situa- 
tions than those in which it appeared in the [Jewish] families when 
they were at a still less complex stage, and hence its character be- 
comes more specialized and its results more diverse. 

Here, as in what has preceded, we cannot be concerned with the 
manner in which we might grasp this adventure of Israelite libera- 
tion with our intellect (249). On the contrary, what we have to 
grasp is the fact that the Jewish spirit acted in this adventure in a 
manner corresponding to that in which the adventure was present 
to the Jews in their imagination and lively recollection. When 
Moses, an isolated enthusiast for the liberation of his people, came 
to the elders of the Israelites and spoke to them of his project, his 
divine calling found its legitimation not in a heartfelt hatred of op- 
pression, not in a longing for air and freedom, but in certain tricks 
with which Moses baffled them and which were performed subse- 
quently with equal skill by Egyptian conjurers. The deeds of Moses 
and Aaron worked on their brethren precisely as they did on the 
Egyptians, i.e., as a force, and we see how the latter defended them- 
selves against subjection by just the same means. 

The increased hardships consequent upon Moses' discourse in 
Pharaoh's presence did not act as a stronger stimulus to the Jews, 
but only intensified their sufferings. Against no one were the Jews 
more enraged than against Moses, whom they cursed (Exodus v. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

21, vi. 9). 11 Moses alone takes action. Permission to depart he ex- 
torts because of the king's fear. The Jewish faith does not even al- 
low the king to forget his fear of his own accord and rue the decision 
extorted from him; on the contrary, his words, expressive of his 
refusal to subject himself to their god, they take to be their god's 
doing. For the Jews a great thing was done, but they do not in- 
augurate it with heroic deeds of their own; it is for them that Egypt 
suffers the most diverse plagues and misery. Amid general lamen- 
tation they withdraw, driven forth by the hapless Egyptians (Ex- 
odus xii. 3 3-34) ; 12 but they themselves have only the malice the 
coward feels when his enemy is brought low by someone else's act, 
only the consciousness of woe wrought for them, not that of the cour- 
age which may still drop a tear for the evil it must inflict. They go 
unscathed, yet their spirit must exult in all the wailing that was so 
profitable to them. The Jews vanquish, but they have not battled. 
The Egyptians are conquered, but not by their enemies; they are 
conquered (like men murdered in their sleep, or poisoned) by an in- 
visible attack, and the Israelites, with the sign on their houses and 
the profit which all this misery brings, look like the notorious rob- 
bers during the plague at Marseilles. 13 The only act which Moses 
reserved for the Israelites was, on the evening which he knew to be 
the last on which they would speak to their neighbors and friends, 
to borrow with deceit and repay confidence with theft. 

It is no wonder that this nation, which in its emancipation bore 
the most slavelike demeanor, regretted leaving Egypt, wished to 
return there again whenever difficulty or danger came upon it in 
the sequel, and thus showed how in its liberation it had been with- 
out the soul and the spontaneous need of freedom. 

11. ["And they met Moses and Aaron .... and said unto them, The Lord 
look upon you and judge, because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in 

the eyes of Pharaoh The children of Israel hearkened not unto Moses 

for anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.'*] 

12. ["The Egyptians were urgent upon the people that they might send 
them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people 
took their dough before it was leavened."] 

13. [In 1720.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

(250) The liberator of his nation was also its lawgiver; this 
could mean only that the man who had freed it from one yoke had 
laid on it another. A passive people giving laws to itself would be a 
contradiction. 

The principle of the entire legislation was the spirit inherited 
from his forefathers, i.e., was the infinite Object, the sum of all 
truth and all relations, which thus is strictly the sole infinite sub- 
ject, for this Object can only be called "object" in so far as man 
with the life given him is presupposed and called the living or the 
absolute subject. This, so to say, is the sole synthesis; the antith- 
eses are the Jewish nation, on the one hand, and, on the other, the 
world and all the rest of the human race. These antitheses are the 
genuine pure objects; i.e., this is what they become in contrast with 
an existent, an infinite, outside them; they are without intrinsic 
worth and empty, without life; they are not even something dead 
a nullity yet they are a something only in so far as the infinite 
Object makes them something, i.e., makes them not something 
which iSj but something made which on its own account has no life, 
no rights, no love.* Where there is universal enmity, there is noth- 
ing left save physical dependence, an animal existence which can be 
assured only at the expense of all other existence, and which the 
Jews took as their fief. This exception, this expected isolated secu- 
rity, follows of necessity from the infinite separation; and this gift, 
this liberation from the Egyptian slavery, the possession of a land 
flowing with milk and honey, together with assured food, drink, and 
progeny, these are the claims which the divine has to veneration; 
as the title to veneration, so the veneration: the former, relief of 
distress, the latter, bondage. 

The infinite subject had to be invisible, since everything visible 
is something restricted. Before Moses had his tabernacle, he showed 
to the Israelites only fire and clouds which kept the eye busy on a 
vague play of continually changing shapes without fixing it on a 

* The priests of Cybele, the sublime godhead which is all that is, was, and 
is to be, and their veils no mortal has unveiled her priests were castrated, un- 
manned in body and spirit. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

[specific] form. An image of God was just stone or wood to them; 
"it sees not, it hears not," etc. with this litany they fancy them- 
selves wonderfully wise; they despise the image because it does 
not manage them, and they have no inkling of its deification in 
the enjoyment of beauty or in a lover's intuition. 

Though there was no concrete shape to be an object of religious 
feeling, devotion and reverence for an invisible object had nonethe- 
less to be given direction and a boundary inclusive of the object. 
This, Moses provided in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle and 
the subsequent temple. After Pompey had approached the heart of 
the temple, (251) the center of adoration, and had hoped to dis- 
cover in it the root of the national spirit, to find indeed in one cen- 
tral point the life-giving soul of this remarkable people, to gaze on a 
Being as an object for his devotion, on something significant for 
his veneration, he might well have been astonished on entering the 
arcanum to find himself deceived so far as some of his expectations 
were concerned, and, for the rest, to find himself in an empty 
room. 

Moreover, the nullity of man and the littleness of an existence 
maintained by favor was to be recalled in every enjoyment, in every 
human activity. As a sign of God's right of property and as his 
share, the tenth of all produce of the ground had to be rendered to 
him. To him belonged every firstborn, though it might be redeemed. 
The human body, which was only lent and did not properly belong 
to them, must be kept clean, just as the servant has to keep clean the 
livery given him by his master. Every uncleanness had to be put 
right; this meant that the Israelite had to recognize, by sacrificing 
something or other which he called his own, that to change another's 
property was a presumption and an illegality and that he himself 
owned no property whatever. But what wholly belonged to their 
God and was sacrosanct to him, e.g., booty and numerous products 
of conquest, was given him as his full possession by the fact that 
it was completely destroyed. 

What the Israelitish people was only partially, what it signal- 
ized itself as being in general, one of the tribes was completely, 

[192] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

namely, a property of its God, though a property which served 
him.* These servants too, then, were fed entirely by the Lord, were 
direct keepers of his household, were his sole harvesters in the en- 
tire country and his houseservants; they had to uphold his rights 
and were arranged in a hierarchy from those who performed the 
most menial services up to the immediate minister of God. The 
latter was himself the custodian not of the arcanum but only of 
secret things; and, similarly, the other priests were unable to learn 
and teach anything but the service. The arcanum itself was some- 
thing wholly alien, something into which a man could not be initi- 
ated; he could only be dependent on it. And the concealment of 
God in the Holy of Holies had a significance quite different from 
the arcanum of the Eleusinian gods. From the pictures, feelings, in- 
spiration, and devotion of Eleusis, from these revelations of god, 
no one was excluded; but they might not be spoken of, since (252) 
words would have desecrated them. But of their objects and actions, 
of the laws of their service, the Israelites might well chatter (Deu- 
teronomy xxx. II), 14 for in these there is nothing holy. The holy 
was always outside them, unseen and unfelt. 

The manifestations in connection with the solemn lawgiving on 
Sinai had so stunned the Jews that they begged Moses to spare 
them, not to bring them so near to God; let him speak with God 
alone and then transmit to them God's commands. 

The three great yearly festivals, celebrated for the most part 
with feasts and dances, are the most human element in Moses' 
polity; but the solemnity of every seventh day is very character- 
istic. To slaves this rest from work must be welcome, a day of idle- 
ness after six days full of labor. But for living men, otherwise free, 
to keep one day in a complete vacuum, in an inactive unity of spir- 
it, to make the time dedicated to God an empty time, and to let this 
vacuity return every so often this could only occur to the legis- 

* The Lord could not come into complete ownership (i.e., destruction) of 
what was to serve; it must yet still have retained at least a vegetating life of 
its own. 

14. ["For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not 
hidden from thee, neither is it far off."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

later of a people for whom the melancholy, unfelt unity is the su- 
preme reality, and who set over against their God his six days' life 
in the new life of a world, treat that life as an outgoing foreign to 
himself, and let him rest thereafter. 

In this thoroughgoing passivity there remained to the Jews, be- 
yond the testification of their servitude, nothing save the sheer 
empty need of maintaining their physical existence and securing it 
against want. To maintain their life, then, satisfied them; they 
wished for no more. They had acquired a land to live in, flowing 
with milk and honey. They now wished, as a nation of settlers and 
agriculturists, to possess as property the land which their fathers 
had wished to traverse simply as hersdmen. In that nomadic mode 
of life the latter could let alone the peoples who were growing up 
in the country and grouping themselves into towns and who in turn 
let them graze the unfilled land in peace and still respected their 
graves when they had ceased to wander in the vicinity. When their 
posterity returned, it was not as nomads like these, for now they 
were subjected to the fate against which their nomadic ancestors 
had so long struggled, a struggle and a resistance in the course of 
which they had only increasingly embittered their own and their 
national genius. The mode of life of their ancestors they had aban- 
doned, but how could their genius have forsaken them? It must have 
become all the mightier and more frightful in them, since their al- 
tered needs had broken down one main party-wall between their 
customs and those of other nations, and no power now stood be- 
tween their union with others except their own hearts. Their neces- 
sities made them the enemies of others, but enmity (253) need not 
have extended beyond what their necessities required, i.e., beyond 
the extortion of settlement among the Canaanites. The old differ- 
ence, that between the life of herdsmen and agriculturists, had 
now disappeared; but what unites men is their spirit and nothing 
else, and what now separated the Jews from the Canaanites was 
their spirit alone. This genius of hatred called upon them utterly to 
exterminate the old inhabitants. Even here the honor of human na- 
ture is still partly preserved in the fact that, even if its innermost 

[194] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

spirit is perverted and turned into hatred, human nature still does 
not wholly disavow its original essence, and its perversion is not 
wholly consistent, is not carried through to the end. The Israelites 
still left a multitude of the inhabitants alive, though plundered in- 
deed and enslaved. 

Those prevented by death in the wilderness from reaching the 
promised land had not fulfilled their destiny, the Idea of their ex- 
istence. Their life was subordinated to an end; it was not self-sub- 
sistent or self-sufficient; and their death therefore could only be re- 
garded as an evil and, since everything stands under a Lord's de- 
cree, only as a punishment. 

From military service all were free who had not yet lived in 
their new-built house, had eaten no grapes from their newly planted 
vineyard, had not yet married their bride, since those whose life 
was now opening before them would have acted madly had they 
hazarded for the reality the whole possibility, the condition, of 
their life. It is contradictory to stake this property and this existence 
for property and existence as such; if one thing is sacrificed for 
another, both must be heterogeneous property and existence only 
for honor, for freedom or beauty, for something eternal. But the 
Jews had no share in anything eternal. 

Moses sealed his legislation with an orientally beautiful 15 threat 
of the loss of all pleasure and all fortune. He brought before the 
slavish spirit the image of itself, namely, the terror of physical 
force. 16 

Other reflections on the human spirit, other modes of conscious- 
ness, do not present themselves in these religious laws, and Men- 
delssohn 17 reckons it a high merit in his faith that it proffers no 

15. ["Beautiful," i.e., imaginative, like the language of Greek mythology. 
"Oriental/* i.e., the image was not a kindly one, like those of Greece, but a 
nonnatural one, a threat of terror, like those to which people under oriental des- 
potisms were accustomed. See Deuteronomy, chap, xxxii.] 

16. [In an earlier draft Hegel sums up his conception of the religion of 
Moses by saying that it is a religion "born of misfortune and made for misfor- 
tune" (Nohl, p. 373).] 

17. [Moses Mendelssohn, the Jewish eighteenth-century philosopher, held 
that, whereas Christianity claims to be a revelation of eternal truths and re- 

[195] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

eternal truths. "There is one God" is an assertion which stands on 
the summit of the state's laws, and if something proffered in this 
form could be called a truth, then, of course, one might say: What 
deeper truth (254) is there for slaves than that they have a master? 
But Mendelssohn is right not to call this a truth, since what we find 
as truth among the Jews did not appear to them under the form of 
truths and matters of faith. Truth is something free which we nei- 
ther master nor are mastered by; hence the existence of God ap- 
pears to the Jews not as a truth but as a command. On God the Jews 
are dependent throughout, and that on which a man depends cannot 
have the form of a truth. Truth is beauty intellectually represented; 
the negative character of truth is freedom. But how could they have 
an inkling of beauty who saw in everything only matter? How 
could they exercise reason and freedom who were only either mas- 
tered or masters? How could they have hoped even for the poor im- 
mortality in which the consciousness of the individual is preserved, 
how could they have wished to persist in self-subsistence who had 
in fact renounced the capacity to will and even the very fact of their 
existence, 18 who wished only for a continuation of the possession of 
their land through their posterity, a continuation of an undeserving 
and inglorious name in a progeny of their own, who never enjoyed 
any life or consciousness lifted above eating and drinking? How in 
such circumstances should it be a merit not to have sullied by re- 
striction something which was not present, to have left free some- 
thing which no one knew? 19 Eskimos might as well pride themselves 

quires its adherents to believe these on authority, Judaism makes no such 
claim. Its belief in one God, he contends, is not a revelation but simply part of a 
natural religion to which all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, can attain by the 
exercise of reason. What Judaism commands is not certain beliefs but certain 
actions, and thus it leaves reason free, while a revealed religion (as distinct 
from a revealed body of legislation) does not (see Jerusalem, Part II of Werke 
[Leipzig, 1843], III, 312 ff.).] 

18. [I.e., instead of feeling the reality of their own existence as individual 
men, they felt only the existence of their possessions, etc. They were too con- 
centrated on material satisfactions to have a sense of their individuality.] 

19. [The reference is to the Jewish pride in their belief in a God who was 
infinite (but was yonder, not here) and who was free (but hidden and mysteri- 
ous).] 

[196] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

on their superiority over any European because in their country no 
excise is paid on wine, and agriculture is not made harder by op- 
pressive taxes. 

Just as here a similar consequence release from truths follows 
from opposite conditions, 20 so, in reference to the subordination of 
civil rights to the law of the land, an institution of the Mosaic state 
has a striking resemblance to the situation created in their republics 
by two famous legislators, though its source is very different. In 
order to avert from their states 21 the danger threatening to freedom 
from the inequality of wealth, Solon and Lycurgus restricted prop- 
erty rights in numerous ways and set various barriers to the free- 
dom of choice which might have led to unequal wealth. In the 
Mosaic state, similarly, a family's property was consolidated in 
the family for all time; whoever had of necessity sold his property 
and himself was to enter on his property rights again in the great 
jubilee year, and in other cases on his personal rights in the seventh 
year; whoever had acquired more fields was to revert to the old 
boundaries of his lands. Whoever married from another tribe or 
another nation a girl who had no brothers and was therefore an 
owner of goods, eo if so entered (255) the tribe and family to which 
these goods belonged. Thus to belong to a family depended for him 
rather on something acquired than on what of all he had was most 
peculiarly his own, on a characteristic otherwise indelible, i.e., on 
his descent from certain parents. 

In the Greek republics the source of these laws lay in the fact 
that, owing to the inequality which would otherwise have arisen, 
the freedom of the impoverished might have been jeopardized and 
they might have fallen into political annihilation; among the Jews, 
in the fact that they had no freedom and no rights, since they held 
their possessions only on loan and not as property,* since as citi- 

20. [I.e., beauty and imaginative imagery in Greece, and domination and 
servitude in Judaism.] 

21. [Athens and Sparta, respectively.] 

* Leviticus xxv. 23 ff. and 35. They could alienate nothing, "for the land is 
mine and ye are strangers and sojourners with me." 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

zens they were all nothing. The Greeks were to be equal because 
all were free, self-subsistent; the Jews equal because all were in- 
capable of self-subsistence. Hence every Jew belonged to a family 
because he had a share in its soil, and this soil it could not even call 
its own; it was only conceded to it by grace. Every Jew's inability 
to multiply his estates was admittedly only an ideal of the legis- 
lator's, and his people does not seem to have adhered to it strictly. If 
the reason for it in the legislator's soul had been the hindering of the 
inequality of wealth, quite different arrangements would have been 
made, many other springs of inequality would have been choked, 
and the great end of his legislation would inevitably have had to be 
the citizens' freedom, a constitutional ideal to which no strain in 
the spirit of Moses arid his nation corresponded. 

The inability to multiply estates was not a consequence of equal- 
ity of rights in land, but of equality in having no rights in it at all. 
The feeling of this equality stirred up the revolt of Dathan and 
Korah who found inconsistent the prerogative which Moses as- 
sumed for himself, i.e., that of being of some consequence (Num- 
bers xvi. 3). 22 That show of a constitutional relation 23 between citi- 
zens vanished on inspection of the principle from which these [land] 
laws had flowed. Since the relation of the Jews to one another as 
citizens was none other than the equal dependence of all on their 
invisible ruler and his visible servants and officials, since therefore 
there was strictly no citizen body at all, and since further that de- 
pendence eliminated the precondition of all political, i.e., free, laws, 
it follows that there could not be anything among the Jews resem- 
bling a constitutional law, a legislative power determining a con- 
stitutional law, just as in any despotism the question about a con- 
stitutional law is contradictory. 

Law courts and officials (scribes), as well as either permanent 
rulers of a kind (the heads of the tribes), (256) or else leaders or 

22. ["They gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron and 
said unto them: Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are 

holy, every one of them Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the 

congregation of the Lord?"] 

23. [I.e., the equality of all in having no rights in land.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

governors arising and disappearing by force or capriciously or as 
the needs of the hour require, these there may and must be. Only in 
such a form of social interconnection could it be indifferent, could 
it remain indeterminate, whether monarchical power would be in- 
troduced or not. In the event of the Israelites having a notion to be 
ruled by a king like other peoples, Moses issued only a few orders, 
some so fashioned that the monarchical power could abide by them 
or not as it pleased, others with no bearing whatever (not even only 
in general) on the founding of a constitution or of any popular 
rights against the kings. Of the rights which a nation has had to 
fear might be jeopardized, the Jewish nation had none; and among 
the Jews there was nothing left to oppress. 

Moses did not live to see the complete execution of his legisla- 
tion, which indeed has not come fully into force at all in any period 
of Israelite history. He died in punishment for a tiny initiative 
which stirred in him on the one occasion when he struck one single 
unbidden blow. In the survey (Deuteronomy xxxii. II) 24 of his 
political life, he compares the way in which his God had led the 
Jews, through his instrumentality, with the behavior of the eagle 
which wishes to train its young to fly it continually flutters its 
wings over the nest, takes the young on its wings, and bears them 
forth thereon. Only the Israelites did got complete this fine image; 
these young never became eagles. In relation to their God they 
rather afford the image of an eagle which by mistake warmed 
stones, showed them how to fly and took them on its wings into the 
clouds, but never raised their weight into flight or fanned their bor- 
rowed warmth into the flame of life. 

The subsequent circumstances of the Jewish people up to the 
mean, abject, wretched circumstances in which they still are to- 
day, have all of them been simply consequences and elaborations of 
their original fate. By this fate an infinite power which they set 
over against themselves and could never conquer they have been 

24. ["As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth 
abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord alone 
did lead him."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

maltreated and will be continually maltreated until they appease it 
by the spirit of beauty and so annul it by reconciliation. 

The death of Moses was followed by a long period of independ- 
ence interchanging with subjection to foreign nations. The fate of 
losing independence as a result of good fortune 25 and of acquiring 
through oppression the spirit to struggle for independence again 
this common fate of all nations was the fate of the Jewish nation 
also, but in their case it had to suffer two special modifications : 

(257) a) The transition to weakness, to a position of good for- 
tune, appeared as a transition to the service of new gods, and the 
spirit to rise out of oppression to independence appeared as a re- 
version to their own God. When their distresses were alleviated, 
the Jews renounced the spirit of hostility and devastation, their 
El-Shaddai, 26 their God of distress. Humaner feelings arose in their 
hearts, and this produced a more friendly atmosphere; they rever- 
enced more beautiful spirits and served strange gods. But now their 
fate seized upon them in the course of this very service. They could 
not be worshipers but only servants of these gods; they were now 
become dependent on the world which hitherto had been subjected 
either to themselves or to their ideal; and the result was that their 
strength failed them, since it rested on hostility alone, and the 
bond of their state was completely loosened. Their state could not 
be supported simply by the fact that all the citizens had a support; 
they could subsist as united into a state only if all depended on a 
common factor, but on one belonging to them alone and opposed to 
all mankind. 27 By serving strange gods, they were untrue not to 

25. [I.e., because prosperity is likely to make men weak and so to leave 
them a prey to jealous neighbors.] 

26. [The Hebrew words translated by "God Almighty" in Genesis xvii. 1 ; 
Exodus vi. 3; etc.] 

27. [Hegel here originally inserted, but later deleted, a reference to Deuter- 
onomy iv. 19-20. This passage (taking our marginal reading, which is that of 
Luther's version) reads: "Take heed lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven 
and, when thou seest the sun, the moon, and the stars . . . . , thou be drawn 
away and worship them which the Lord hath imparted unto all the peoples 
under the whole heaven. But the Lord hath taken you .... to be unto him a 
people of inheritance.'*] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

one of the laws which we call "laws of the land" but to the principle 
of their entire legislation and their state; and therefore a prohibition 
of idolatry was quite logical, and it was one of their first laws and 
chief interdicts. By mingling with other peoples, by bonds of mar- 
riage and friendship, by every kind of friendly, instead of servile, 
association with them, they developed a common life with them. 
Together they enjoyed the sun, together they gazed at the moon 
and the stars, or, when they reflected on their own feelings, they 
found ties and feelings in which they were united with others. 
These heavenly bodies, together with their union in them (i.e., to- 
gether with the image of the feeling in which they were one), the 
Jews represented to themselves as something living, and in this 
way they acquired gods. In so far as the soul of Jewish nationality, 
the odium generis humani, flagged in the slightest and more friendly 
genii united it with strangers and carried it over the bounds of that 
hatred, so far were they deserters; they strayed into the orbit of an 
enjoyment not found in the bondage that was theirs hitherto. This 
experience, that outside their given inheritance there might still be 
room for something which a human heart could adopt, was a dis- 
obedience by bondsmen who (258) wished to know and call their 
own something outside and beyond what had come to hand from 
their lord. As they became humanized even if they were capable 
of pure human feeling and were not enslaving themselves once more 
to something orignally free their vigor declined. There was now 
a contradiction in them; for how all of a sudden could they have 
shaken off their whole fate, the old community of hatred, and or- 
ganized a beautiful union? They were soon driven back to it again, 
for in this dissolution of their community and their state they be- 
came a prey to stronger men; their mingling with other peoples 
became a dependence on them. Oppression aroused hatred once 
more, and thereupon their God reawakened. Their urge to inde- 
pendence was strictly an urge to dependence on something their 
own. 

b) These changes, which other nations often traverse only in 
millenniums, must have been speedy with the Jews. Every condi- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

tion they were in was too violent to persist for long. The state of 
independence, linked to universal hostility, could not persist; it is 
too opposed to nature. In other peoples the state of independence is 
a state of good fortune, of humanity at a more beautiful level. With 
the Jews, the state of independence was to be a state of total passiv- 
ity, of total ugliness. Because their independence secured to them 
only food and drink, an indigent existence, it followed that with 
this independence, with this little, all was lost or jeopardized. 
There was no life left over which they could have maintained or 
enjoyed, whose enjoyment would have taught them to bear many a 
distress and make many sacrifices; under oppression their wretched 
existence at once came into jeopardy and they struggled to rescue 
it. This animal existence was not compatible with the more beauti- 
ful form of human life which freedom would have given them. 

When the Jews introduced into their polity the monarchical 
power (which Moses held to be compatible, Samuel incompatible, 
with theocracy), many individuals acquired a political importance 
which they had to share with the priests or defend against them. 
While in free states the introduction of monarchy degrades all citi- 
zens to private persons, in this state, in which everyone was politi- 
cally a nullity, it raised some individuals at least to be a more or 
less restricted entity. After the disappearance of the ephemeral but 
very oppressive brilliance of Solomon's regime, the new powers 
(259) (limitless lust for dominion and an actual dominion with re- 
stricted power) which had interwoven the introduction of mon- 
archy with the scourges of their fate finally tore the Jewish people 
asunder and tinned against its own vitals the same rabid loveless- 
ness and godlessness which formerly it had turned against other 
nations; they carried its fate against itself by the instrumentality of 
its own hands. Foreign nations it learned at least to fear; instead of 
a people which was dominant in idea, it became one dominated in 
reality, and it acquired the feeling of its dependence on something 
external. For a long period it maintained itself by humiliations as 
a miserable sort of state until at the end (as the day of misfortune 
is never long behind the politics of cunning weakness) it was trod- 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

den to the ground altogether without retaining the strength to rise 
again. Inspired men had tried from time to time to cleave to the old 
genius of their nation and to revivify it in its death throes. But 
when the genius of a nation has fled, inspiration cannot conjure it 
back; inspiration cannot enchant away a people's fate, though if it 
be pure and living, it can call a new spirit forth out of the depths of 
its life. But the Jewish prophets kindled their flame from the torch 
of a languishing genius to which they tried to restore its old vigor 
and, by destroying the many-sided interests of the time, its old 
dread sublime unity. Thus they could become only cold fanatics, 
circumscribed and ineffective when they were involved in policies 
and statecraft. They could afford only a reminiscence of bygone 
ages and so could only add to the confusion of the present without 
resurrecting the past. The mixture of passions could never again 
turn into a uniform passivity; on the contrary, arising from passive 
hearts, they were bound to rage all the more terribly. To flee from 
this grim reality, men sought consolation in ideas: the ordinary 
Jew, who was ready enough to sacrifice himself but not his Object, 
sought it in the hope of the coming Messiah; the Pharisees sought 
it in the business of serving and doing the will of the objective Be- 
ing, and in the complete unification of their consciousness there- 
with (because of the incompleteness of the circle of their activities 
in which they were masters, they felt that there were powers out- 
side it alien to themselves, and they therefore believed in the inter- 
mixture of an alien fate with the power of their will and their 
agency) ; the Sadducees sought it in the entire multiplicity of their 
existence and in the distractions of a variable life filled with noth- 
ing but fixed details and in which there could be indeterminacy only 
as the possibility of a transition to other fixities; the Essenes 
sought it in an eternal entity, in a fraternity which would ban all 
property, and everything connected with it, as a cause of separation, 
and which would make them into a living unity without multi- 
plicity; (260) they sought it in a common life which would be inde- 
pendent of all the relations of the real world and whose enjoyment 
would be grounded on the habit of being together, a "being to- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

gether" which, owing to the absolute equality of the members, 
would never be disturbed by any diversification. 28 

The more thoroughgoing was the dependence of the Jews on 
their laws, the greater their obstinacy was bound to be when they 
met with opposition in the one field where they could still have a 
will of their own, namely, in their worship. The lightheartedness 
with which they let themselves be corrupted, let themselves be- 
come untrue to their faith, when what was alien to their faith ap- 
proached them without hostility at times when their needs had 
been met and their miserable appetite satisfied, was parallel to the 
stubbornness with which they fought for their worship when it was 
attacked. They struggled for it like men in despair; they were even 
capable, in battling for it, of offending against its commands (e.g., 
the celebration of the Sabbath), though no force could have made 
them consciously transgress them at another's order. And since 
life was so maltreated in them, since nothing in them was left un- 
dominated, nothing sacrosanct, their action became the most im- 
pious fury, the wildest fanaticism. 

The Romans were disappointed when they hoped that fanaticism 
would die down under their moderate rule, for it glowed once more 
and was buried under the destruction it wrought. 

The great tragedy of the Jewish people is no Greek tragedy; it 
can rouse neither terror nor pity, for both of these arise only out 

28. ["The Pharisees ascribe all to fate and to God, and yet allow that to do 
what is right or the contrary is principally in the power of men, although fate 
does co-operate in every action. They are those who are esteemed most skilful 

in the exact explication of the law The Sadducees take away fate entirely 

and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil. 
They say that men may act as they please. The behaviour of the Sadducees to- 
wards one another is in some degrees wild. Their doctrine is received by but 
few .... but they are able to do almost nothing of themselves. When they 
become magistrates, as they are sometimes unwillingly obliged to do, they ad- 
dict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would 
not otherwise hear them. They say that we are to esteem those observances to 
be obligatory which are in the written word, but not those derived from the 

tradition of our forefathers The Essenes will not suffer anything to 

hinder them from having all things in common. They neither marry wives nor 
are desirous to keep servants. They live by themselves and minister to one an- 
other" Qosephus Wars of the Jews ii. 8; Antiquities of the Jews \i\i. 10, xviii. 1).] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

of the fate which follows from the inevitable slip of a beautiful 
character; it can arouse horror alone. The fate of the Jewish people 
is the fate of Macbeth who stepped out of nature itself, clung to 
alien Beings, and so in their service had to trample and slay every- 
thing holy in human nature, had at last to be forsaken by his gods 
(since these were objects and he their slave) and be dashed to pieces 
on his faith itself. 

[ ii. THE MORAL TEACHING OF JESUS: (a) THE SERMON 

ON THE MOUNT CONTRASTED WITH THE MOSAIC 

LAW AND WITH KANT'S ETHICS] 

(261) Jesus appeared shortly before the last crisis produced by 
the fermentation of the multiplex elements in the Jewish fate. In 
this time of inner fermentation, while these varied elements were 
developing until they became concentrated into a whole and until 
sheer oppositions and open war [with Rome] were the result, sev- 
eral partial outbreaks preceded the final act. 29 Men of commoner 
soul, though of strong passions, comprehended the fate of the Jewish 
people only partially; hence they were not calm enough either to 
let its waves carry them along passively and unconsciously and so 
just to swim with the tide or, alternatively, to await the further 
development necessary before a stronger power could be associ- 
ated with their efforts. The result was that they outran the fer- 
mentation of the whole and fell without honor and without achieve- 
ment. 

Jesus did not fight merely against one part of the Jewish fate; 
to have done so would have implied that he was himself in the toils 
of another part, and he was not; he set himself against the whole. 
Thus he was himself raised above it and tried to raise his people 
above it too. But enmities like those he sought to transcend can be 
overcome only by valor; they cannot be reconciled by love. Even 

29. [In an earlier draft (Nohl, p. 385), Hegel wrote: "In the time of Jesus 
the Jewish people no longer presents the appearance of a whole. There are so 
many ideals and different types of life, so much unsatisfied striving for some- 
thing new, that any confident and hopeful reformer is as assured of a following 
as he is of enemies.*'] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

his sublime effort to overcome the whole of the Jewish fate must 
therefore have failed with his people, and he was bound to become 
its victim himself. Since Jesus had aligned himself with no aspect 
of the Jewish fate at all, his religion was bound to find a great re- 
ception not among his own people (for it was too much entangled in 
its fate) but in the rest of the world, among men who no longer had 
to defend or uphold any share of the fate in question. 30 

Rights which a man sacrifices if he freely recognizes and estab- 
lishes powers over himself, regulations which, in the spirit of Jesus, 
we might recognize as grounded in the living modification of hu- 
man nature [i.e., in an individual human being] were simply com- 
mands for the Jews and positive throughout. The order in which 
the various kinds of Jewish laws (laws about worship, moral laws, 
and civil laws) are followed here is for them, therefore, (262) a 
strange and manufactured order, since religious, moral, and civil 
laws were all equally positive in Jewish eyes, and distinctions be- 
tween these types are first introduced for the Jews as a result of the 
manner of Jesus' reaction to them. 

Over against commands which required a bare service of the 
Lord, a direct slavery, an obedience without joy, without pleasure 
or love, i.e., the commands in connection with the service of God, 
Jesus set their precise opposite, a human urge and so a human need. 
Religious practice is the most holy, the most beautiful, of all things; 
it is our endeavor to unify the discords necessitated by our develop- 
ment and our attempt to exhibit the unification in the ideal as fully 
existent, as no longer opposed to reality, and thus to express and 
confirm it in a deed. It follows that, if that spirit of beauty be lack- 
ing in religious actions, they are the most empty of all; they are the 
most senseless bondage, demanding a consciousness of one's annihi- 

30. [At this point there is a gap in the manuscript. In an earlier draft (Nohl, 
p. 386) Hegel wrote: "The root of Judaism is the Objective, i.e., service, 
bondage to an alien Lord. This was what Jesus attacked." In what is missing, 
Hegel seems to have further described the nature of Jewish bondage to the law. 
The translation of the following paragraph, which is fragmentary in the manu- 
script, presupposes the reconstruction and interpretation given by T. L. Hae- 
ring, Hegel, sein Wollen und sem Wcrk, I, 486-87.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

lation, or deeds in which man expresses his nullity, his passivity. 
The satisfaction of the commonest human want rises superior to 
actions like these, because there lies directly in such a want the 
sensing or the preserving of a human being, no matter how empty 
his being may be. 

It is tautologous to say that supreme need is a profanation of 
something sacrosanct, because need is a state of distraction, and an 
action profaning a sacrosanct object is need in action. In need either 
a man is made an object and is oppressed or else he must make na- 
ture an object and oppress that. Not only is nature sacrosanct but 
things which in themselves are mere objects may also be sacro- 
sanct not only when they are themselves manifestations of a multi- 
unifying ideal, but also when they stand in a relation of some sort to 
it and belong to it. Need may demand the profanation of such a 
sacrosanct thing; but to profane it except in need is wantonness if 
that wherein a people is united is at the same time something com- 
munal, a property of all alike, for in that case the profanation of the 
sanctuary is at the same time an unrighteous profanation of the 
rights of all. The pious zeal which smashes the temples and altars 
of an alien worship and drives out its priests profanes communal 
sanctuaries belonging to all. But if a sanctuary is all-unifying only 
in so far as all make renunciation, as all serve, then any man who 
separates himself from the others reassumcs his rights; (263) and 
his profanation of a sacred object or command of that type is, as far 
as the others arc concerned, only a disturbance in so far as it is a 
renunciation of community with them and is his revindication of his 
arbitrary use of his own property, be this his time or something 
else. But the more trifling any such right and its sacrifice may be, 
the less will a man oppose himself to his fellow-citizens on its ac- 
count in the matter which to them is supreme, the less will he wish 
to disrupt his community with them on the point which is the very 
heart of the communal tie. The case is otherwise only when the en- 
tirety of the community becomes an object of contempt; it was be- 
cause Jesus withdrew from the whole life of his people that he re- 
nounced this kind of forbearance which in other circumstances a 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

friend shows by self-restraint, in matters of indifference, toward 
that with which he is heart and soul at one. For the sake of Jewish 
sanctities Jesus renounced nothing, forwent not even the satisfac- 
tion of a whim, of a very ordinary need. Therein he let us read his 
separation from his people, his utter contempt for bondage to 
objective commands. 

His disciples gave offense to the Jews by plucking ears of corn 
on the Sabbath. The hunger which was their motive could find no 
great satisfaction in these ears of corn; reverence for the Sabbath 
might well have postponed this trifling satisfaction for all the time 
necessary for going to a place where they could get cooked food. 
Jesus contrasted David with the Pharisees who censured this un- 
lawful action, but David had seized the shewbread in extreme need. 
Jesus also adduced the desecration of the Sabbath by priestly duties; 
but, since these were lawful, they were no desecration. On the one 
hand, he magnifies the transgression by the very remark that, while 
the priests desecrate the Sabbath in the temple merely, here is a 
greater than the temple, i.e., nature is holier than the temple; and, 
on the other hand, his general drift is to lift nature, which for the 
Jews is godless and unholy, above that single restricted building, 
made by Jewish hands, which was in their view the only part of the 
world related to God. In plain terms, however, he contrasts the 
sanctification of a time [the seventh day] with men and declares 
that the former is inferior to a trivial satisfaction of a human need. 

On the same day Jesus healed a withered hand. The Jews' own 
behavior in connection with a sheep in danger proved to them, like 
David's misuse of the sacred bread, or the functions of priests on 
the Sabbath, that even in their own eyes the holiness of the day did 
not count as absolute, that (264) they themselves knew something 
higher than the observance of this command. But even here the ex- 
ample which he brings before the Jews is an example of need, and 
need cancels guilt. The animal which falls into the pit demands in- 
stant aid; but whether the man lacked the use of his hand or not un- 
til sunset was entirely a matter of indifference. The action of Jesus 
expressed his whim to perform the action a few hours earlier and 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

the primacy of such a whim over a command issued by the highest 
authority. 

Against the custom of washing the hands before eating bread 
Jesus puts (Matthew xv. 2) 31 the whole subjectivity of man; and 
above bondage to a command, above the purity or impurity of an 
object, he puts purity or impurity of heart. He made undetermined 
subjectivity, character, a totally different sphere, one which was to 
have nothing in common with the punctilious following of objective 
commands. 

Against purely objective commands Jesus set something totally 
foreign to them, namely, the subjective in general; but he took up 
a different attitude to those laws which from varying points of 
view we call either moral or else civil commands. Since it is natural 
relations which these express in the form of commands, it is per- 
verse to make them wholly or partly objective. Since laws are uni- 
fications of opposites in a concept, which thus leaves them as oppo- 
sites while it exists itself in opposition to reality, it follows that the 
concept expresses an ought. 32 If the concept is treated in accord- 
ance with its form, not its content, i.e., if it is treated as a concept 
made and grasped by men, the command is moral. If we look solely 
at the content, as the specific unification of specific opposites, and 
if therefore the "ought" [or "Thou shalt"] does not arise from the 

3 1 . ["Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they 

wash not their hands when they eat bread He said unto them Ye 

have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition 

Well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying: This people .... honoureth me with 
their lips, but their heart is far from me."] 

32. [Hegel is thinking here of moral and political laws. Law substitutes for a 
war between opposed interests a world of social relationships; i.e., it unites 
men who, outside the pale of law, would be at enmity with one another. So also 
law may reconcile reason with desire and allow man to live at peace with him- 
self. Now a law is a concept, in the sense that it operates (as law, not as force) 
only among those who understand it. Instinctive or habitual action might acci- 
dentally accord with the law, but moral and political life presuppose a tran- 
scendence of that natural level and the attainment of an intelligence which can 
grasp what law is. But law is only a concept, because it can be disobeyed, so 
that even if there are laws, the unification of opposites which they imply may 
not be an accomplished fact. Hence, the most we can say is that law ought to 
be obeyed, hostilities ought to be assuaged, opposites ought to be unified; and 
this is implied in the formal expression of the law as "Thou shalt."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

property of the concept but is asserted by an external power, the 
command is civil. Since in the latter case the unification of opposites 
is not achieved by thinking, is not subjective, civil laws delimit the 
opposition between several living beings, while purely moral laws 
fix limits to opposition in one living being. Thus the former re- 
strict the opposition of one living being to others, the latter the op- 
position of one side, one power, of the living being to other sides, 
other powers, (265) of that same living being; and to this ex- 
tent one power of this being lords it over another of its powers. 
Purely moral commands which are incapable of becoming civil 
ones, i.e., those in which the opposites and the unification cannot 
be formally alien to one another, would be such as concern the re- 
striction of those forces whose activity does not involve a relation 
to other men or is not an activity against them. If the laws are oper- 
ative as purely civil commands, they are positive, an3 since in their 
matter they are at the same time moral, or since the unification of 
objective entities in the concept also either presupposes a nonob- 
jective unification or else may be such, it follows that their form as 
civil commands would be canceled if they were made moral, i.e., 
if their "ought" became, not the command of an external power, but 
reverence for duty, the consequence of their own concept. But even 
those moral commands which are incapable of becoming civil may 
become objective if the unification (or restriction) works not as 
concept itself, as command, but as something alien to the restricted 
force, although as something still subjective. 33 Thia kind of objec- 
tivity could be canceled only by the restoration of the concept it- 
self and by the restriction of activity through that concept. 

We might have expected Jesus to work along these lines against 
the positivity of mo' al commands, against sheer legality, and to 
show that, although the legal is a universal whose entire obligatori- 
ness lies in its universality, still, even if every ought, every com- 
mand, declares itself as something alien, nevertheless as concept 
(universality) it is something subjective, and, as subjective, as a 

33. [I.e., if the moral law is regarded as God's fiat instead of as inherently 
rational.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

product of a human power (i.e., of reason as the capacity for uni- 
versality), it loses its objectivity, its positivity, its heteronomy, and 
the thing commanded is revealed as grounded in an autonomy of the 
human will. By this line of argument, however, positivity is only 
partially removed; and between the Shaman of the Tungus, (266) 
the European prelate who rules church and state, the Voguls, and the 
Puritans, on the one hand, and the man who listens to his own com- 
mand of duty, on the other, the difference is not that the former make 
themselves slaves, while the latter is free, but that the former have 
their lord outside themselves, while the latter carries his lord in 
himself, yet at the same time is his own slave. 34 For the particular 
impulses, inclinations, pathological love, sensuous experience, or 
whatever else it is called the universal is necessarily and always 
something alien and objective. There remains a residuum of inde- 
structible positivity which finally shocks us because the content 
which the universal command of duty acquires, a specific duty, 
contains the contradiction of being restricted and universal at the 
same time and makes the most stubborn claims for its one-sidedness, 

34. [Kant held that the only actions which had moral worth were those done 
"from duty/' and Hegel interpreted him as meaning that morality required us 
to follow the moral law of duty even to the thwarting of all our inclinations. 
Since the moral law is, in Kant's view, the law of man's own reason, to follow 
it is to be free. A man's will may be determined by impulses and other purely 
natural factors, and in that event he is not free but the slave of his passions; he 
is still a slave if it is determined by the "positive" commands of an external au- 
thority, i.e., by commands posited or laid down by fiat and not deducible from 
the rational will itself; but alternatively the will may be self-determining, i.e., 
obedient to the moral law issued by the rational will itself. It was from this 
point of view that in his Religion within the Bounds of Reason Alone (iv. 2. 3) 
Kant said that between the Shaman and the European prelate, between the 
Voguls and the Puritans, there was a great difference in manner, but none in 
principle; all alike they were obeying positive authorities, external commands, 
and not the law of their own reason. Hegel retorts that the man whose inclina- 
tions are in bondage to reason is also a slave, though a slave of himself; from 
the point of view of human needs and passions, a man is asked by Kant to obey 
commands which are just as external and positive (so far as these needs are 
concerned) as the commands of a positive religion. For Kant, man remains a 
duality; reason tries to thwart desire, but the two are never synthesized. Hegel 
attempts to show that a unification of the personality is possible through love 
and religion. (The Tungus and the Voguls are Siberian tribes.) For "pathologi- 
cal love" see Kant's Theory of Ethics, trans. T. K. Abbott (London, 1923), p. 
176. Cf. below, p. 247.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

i.e., on the strength of possessing universality of form. Woe to the 
human relations which are not unquestionably found in the concept 
of duty; for this concept (since it is not merely the empty thought 
of universality but is to manifest itself in an action) excludes or 
dominates all other relations. 

One who wished to restore man's humanity in its entirety could 
not possibly have taken a course like this, because it simply tacks 
on to man's distraction of mind an obdurate conceit. To act in the 
spirit of the laws could not have meant for him "to act out of re- 
spect for duty and to contradict inclinations," for both "parts of the 
spirit" (no other words can describe this distraction of soul), just 
by being thus divergent, would have been not in the spirit of the 
laws but against that spirit, one part because it was something ex- 
clusive and so self-restricted, the other because it was something 
suppressed. 36 

This spirit of Jesus, a spirit raised above morality, 36 is visible, 
directly attacking laws, in the Sermon on the Mount, which is an 
attempt, elaborated in numerous examples, to strip the laws of 
legality, of their legal form. The Sermon does not teach rever- 
ence for the laws; on the contrary, it exhibits that which fulfils the 
law but annuls it as law and so is something higher than obedience to 
law and makes law superfluous. Since the commands of duty 
presuppose a cleavage [between reason and inclination] and since 
the domination of the concept declares itself in a "thou shah," 
that which is raised above this cleavage is by contrast an "is," a 
modification of life, a modification which is exclusive and there- 
fore restricted only if looked at in reference to the object, since the 
exclusiveness is given only through the restrictedness of the object 
and only concerns the object. 37 When Jesus expresses in terms of 

35. [The two parts are (i) reason, which excludes inclination, and (ii) in- 
clination, suppressed by reason.] 

36. [Morality interpreted, as in the view here ascribed by Hegel to Kant, 
as the domination of inclination by reason.] 

37. [Hegel seems to be thinking here of a precept such as "Love thy neigh- 
bor." Love he regards as a "modification of life" (i.e., life expressing itself 
in a specific mode) and so as an attitude in which the lover's whole self is at 
one; the lover* s reason and inclination are in harmony. The restricted form of 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

commands what he sets against and above the laws (think not that 
I (267) wish to destroy the law; let your word be; I tell you not 
to resist, etc.; love God and your neighbor), this turn of phrase is a 
command in a sense quite different from that of the "shah" of a 
moral imperative. It is only the sequel to the fact that, when life is 
conceived in thought or given expression, it acquires a form alien 
to it, a conceptual form, while, on the other hand, the moral im- 
perative is, as a universal, in essence a concept. And if in this way 
life appears in the form of something due to reflection, something 
said to men, then this type of expression (a type inappropriate to 
life): "Love God above everything and thy neighbor as thyself" 
was quite wrongly regarded by Kant as a "command requiring re- 
spect for a law which commands love." 38 And it is on this confusion 
of the utterly accidental kind of phraseology expressive of life with 
the moral imperative (which depends on the opposition between 
concept and reality) that there rests Kant's profound reduction of 
what he calls a "command" (love God first of all and thy neighbor 
as thyself) to his moral imperative. And his remark that "love," 
or, to take the meaning which he thinks must be given to this 
love, "liking to perform all duties," "cannot be commanded" falls 
to the ground by its own weight, because in love all thought of 
duties vanishes. And so also even the honor which he bestows in 
another way on that expression of Jesus by regarding it as an ideal 
of holiness unattainable by any creature, is squandered to no pur- 
pose; for such an "ideal," in which duties are represented as willing- 
ly done, is self-contradictory, since duties require an opposition, 
and an action that we like to do requires none. And he can suffer 
this unresolved contradiction in his ideal because he declares that 
rational creatures (a remarkable juxtaposition of words) can fall 
but cannot attain that ideal. 



the precept (love thy neighbor) is a restriction which concerns not the lover 
but the object of his love; and the restriction is added to the precept (which 
otherwise would consist of the word "love" only) simply because the object 
of love is necessarily a restricted object.] 

38. [Kanfs Theory of Ethics, trans. Abbott, pp. 175-76.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew v. 2-16] with 
a species of paradox in which his whole soul forthwith and unam- 
biguously declares to the multitude of expectant listeners that they 
have to expect from him something wholly strange, a different 
genius, a different world. There are cries in which he enthusiasti- 
cally deviates directly from the common estimate of virtue, en- 
thusiastically proclaims a new law and light, a new region of life 
whose relation to the world could only be to be hated and perse- 
cuted by it. In this Kingdom of Heaven [Matthew v. 17-20], how- 
ever, what he discovers to them is not that laws disappear but that 
they must be kept through a righteousness of a new kind, in which 
there is more than is in the righteousness of the sons of duty and 
which is more complete because it supplements the deficiency in 
the laws [or "fulfils" them] . 

(268) This supplement he goes on to exhibit in several laws. 
This expanded content we may call an inclination so to act as the 
laws may command, i.e., a unification of inclination with the law 
whereby the latter loses its form as law. This correspondence with 
inclination is the ^X^pco/xa [fulfilment] of the law; i.e., it is an u is," 
which, to use an old expression, 39 is the "complement of possi- 
bility," since possibility is the object as something thought, as 
a universal, while "is" is the synthesis of subject and object, in 
which subject and object have lost their opposition. Similarly, the 
inclination [to act as the laws may command], a virtue, is a syn- 
thesis in which the law (which, because it is universal, Kant al- 
ways calls something "objective") loses its universality and the 
subject its particularity; both lose their opposition, while in the 
Kantian conception of virtue this opposition remains, and the uni- 
versal becomes the master and the particular the mastered. The 
correspondence of inclination with law is such that law and inclina- 
tion are no longer different; and the expression "correspondence of 
inclination with the law" is therefore wholly unsatisfactory be- 

39. [The expression is Baumgarten's. See his Metaphysica (1739), 40, 55, 
quoted in T. D. Weldon, Introduction to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Oxford, 
1945), p. 42.] 

[214] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

cause it implies that law and inclination are still particulars, still 
opposites. Moreover, the expression might easily be understood to 
mean that a support of the moral disposition, of reverence for the 
law, of the will's determinacy by the law, was forthcoming from 
the inclination which was other than the law, and since the things 
in correspondence with one another would on this view be different, 
their correspondence would be only fortuitous, only the unity of 
strangers, a unity in thought only. In the "fulfilment'* of both the 
laws and duty, their concomitant, however, the moral disposition, 
etc., ceases to be the universal, opposed to inclination, and inclina- 
tion ceases to be particular, opposed to the law, and therefore this 
correspondence of law and inclination is life and, as the relation of 
differents to one another, love; i.e., it is an u is" which expressed as 
(a) concept, as law, is of necessity congruent with law, i.e., with 
itself, or as ($) reality, as inclination opposed to the concept, is like- 
wise congruent with itself, with inclination. 40 

The command u Thou shalt not kill" [Matthew v. 21-22] is a 
maxim (269) which is recognized as valid for the will of every ra- 
tional being and which can be valid as a principle of a universal legis- 
lation. Against such a command Jesus sets the higher genius of rec- 
oncilability (a modification of love) which not only does not act 
counter to this law but makes it wholly superfluous; it has in itself 
a so much richer, more living, fulness that so poor a thing as a law 
is nothing for it at all. In reconcilability the law loses its form, the 
concept is displaced by life; but what reconcilability thereby loses 
in respect of the universality which grips all particulars together in 
the concept is only a seeming loss and a genuine infinite gain on ac- 
count of the wealth of living relations with the individuals (per- 
haps few) with whom it comes into connection. It excludes not a 

40. [In a canceled passage (Nohl, p. 268, note) Hegel wrote here : "A com- 
mand can express no more than an ought or a shall, because it is a universal, 
but it does not express an 'is'; and this at once makes plain its deficiency. 
Against such commands Jesus set virtue, i.e., a loving disposition, which makes 
the content of the command superfluous and destroys its form as a command, 
because that form implies an opposition between a commander and something 
resisting the command." The loving disposition is said to be congruent with 
both law and inclination because it is the synthesis of these.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

reality but only thoughts and possibilities, while the form of the 
command and this wealth of possibility in the universality of the 
concept is itself a rending of life; and the content of the command is 
so indigent that it permits any transgression except the one it for- 
bids. For reconcilability, on the other hand, even anger is a crime 
and amounts to the quick reaction of feeling to an oppression, the 
uprush of the desire to oppress in turn, which is a kind of blind jus- 
tice and so presupposes equality, though the equality of enemies. 
Per contra, the spirit of reconcilability, having no inimical dis- 
position of its own, struggles to annul the enmity of the other. If 
love is the standard of judgment, then by that standard calling one's 
brother a scoundrel is a crime, a greater crime than anger. Yet a 
scoundrel in the isolation in which he puts himself by setting him- 
self, a man, over against other men in enmity, and by striving to 
persist in this disorder, is still of some worth, he still counts since 
he is hated, and a great scoundrel may be admired. Therefore, it is 
still more alien to love to call the other a fool, for this annuls not 
only all relation with the speaker but also all equality, all com- 
munity of essence. The man called a fool is represented as com- 
pletely subjugated and is designated a nonentity.* 

Love, on the other hand [Matthew v. 23-24], comes before the 
altar conscious of a separation, (270) but it leaves its gift there, is 
reconciled with its brother, and then and then only approaches the 
one God in purity and singleness of heart. It does not leave the 
judge to apportion its rights; it reconciles itself to its enemy with 
no regard to right whatever. 

Similarly [Matthew v. 27-32], over against dutiful fidelity in 
marriage and the right to divorce a wife, Jesus sets love. Love pre- 
cludes the lust not forbidden by that duty and, except in one even- 

* Philological exegesis for the most part supports the sense in which "Raca" 
is taken here; but the chief difficulty is created by the moral sense of the inter- 
preters who find "fool" a softer expression than "scoundrel," and judge both 
words not by the spirit in which they are uttered but by the impression they 
make. Thus the man called a fool feels himself made sui juris, and if he is as 
sharp as the other, turns round and calls him a fool. [Hegel takes "Raca" to 
mean "scoundrel." But modern scholars say that it is a softer expression than 
"fool" and means "silly fellow."] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

tuality, cancels this leave to divorce, a leave contradictory to that 
duty. Hence, on the one hand, the sanctity of love is the completion 
(the xX^pcojLta [fulfilment]) of the law against divorce, and this 
sanctity alone makes a man capable of checking any one of his 
many aspects which may wish to make itself the whole or rear its 
head against the whole; only the feeling for the whole, love, can 
stand in the way of the diremption of the man's essence. On the 
other hand, love cancels the leave to divorce; and in face of love, so 
long as it lasts, or even when it ceases, there can be no talk of leave 
or rights. To cease loving a wife who still loves compels love to sm, 
to be untrue to itself; and a transfer of its passion to another is only 
a perversion of it, to be atoned for with a bad conscience. To be sure, 
in this event it cannot evade its fate, and the marriage is inwardly 
sundered; but the support which the husband draws from a law and 
a right and through which he brings justice and propriety onto his 
side means adding to the outrage on his wife's love a contemptible 
harshness. But in the eventuality which Jesus made an exception 
(i.e., when the wife has bestowed her love on another) the husband 
may not continue a slave to her. Moses had to give laws and rights 
about marriage to the Jews "because of the hardness of their hearts," 
but in the beginning it was not so. 

In a statement about reality the subject and the object are thought 
of as severed; in a statement about futurity, in a promise, the 
declaration of a will and the deed are themselves still wholly sev- 
ered, and [in both cases] the truth, i.e., the firm connection of the 
separate elements, is the important thing. In a sworn statement, the 
idea of either a past deed or a future one is linked to something 
divine, and the connection of word and deed, their linkage, an "is," 
is represented and figured in a Being. (271) Since the truth of the 
event sworn to cannot itself be made visible, truth itself, God, is 
put in its place, and (a) is in this way given to the other to whom 
the oath is sworn and produces conviction in him, while (b) the 
opposite of the truth is excluded, when the decision to swear is 
taken, by the reaction of this Being on the heart of the man on oath. 
There is no knowing why there is supposed to be any superstition 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

in this. When the Jews swore by heaven, by the earth, by Jeru- 
salem, or by the hair of their head, and committed their oath to 
God, put it in the hands of the Lord, they linked the reality of what 
they asserted to an object; 41 they equated both realities and put the 
connection of this object with what was asserted, the equivalence 
of the two, into the power of an external authority. God is made the 
authority over the word, and this connection of object and asser- 
tion ought to be grounded in man himself. The deed asserted and 
the object by which the oath was taken are so interconnected with 
each other that, if one is canceled, the other is denied too, is repre- 
sented as canceled. If, then, the act promised or the fact asserted is 
not performed or not a fact, then the object by which the man swore, 
heaven, earth, etc., is eo ipso denied too; and in this event the Lord 
of the object must vindicate it, God must be the avenger of his own. 
This linking of a promised deed to something objective Jesus gain- 
says [Matthew v. 33-37]. He does not assert the duty of keeping 
the oath; he declares that the oath is altogether superfluous, for 
neither heaven nor earth nor Jerusalem nor the hair of the head is 
the spirit of man which alone conjoins his word with an action. 
Jesus declares that these things arc a stranger's property and that 
the certainty of a deed may not be linked to anything strange, put 
into the hands of a stranger; on the contrary, the connection of word 
and action must be a living one and rest on the man himself. 

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, say the laws [Matthew v. 
38-42]. Retribution and its equivalence with crime is the sacred 
principle of all justice, the principle on which any political order 
must rest. But Jesus makes a general demand on his hearers to sur- 
render their rights, to lift themselves above the whole sphere of 
justice or injustice by love, for in love there vanish not only rights 
but also the feeling of inequality and the hatred of enemies which 
this feeling's imperative demand for equality implies. 

The laws and duties of which Jesus had spoken up to this point 
were on the whole civil, and he did not complete them by confirming 

41. [I.e., the earth, Jerusalem, etc. This is one reality. The fact asserted is 
the other. God is the power external to both.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

them as laws and duties while requiring pure reverence for them as 
the motive for their observance; on the contrary, he expressed con- 
tempt for them. The completion he gave them is a spirit which has 
no consciousness of rights and duties, although its actions, when 
(272) judged by laws and moral imperatives, are found to be in ac- 
cordance with these. Farther on [Matthew vi. 1-4] he speaks of a 
purely moral duty, the virtue of charity. Jesus condemns in it, as in 
prayer and fasting, the intrusion of something alien, resulting in 
the impurity of the action: Do it not in order to be seen of men; let 
the aim behind the action, i.e., the action as thought of, before it is 
done, be like the completed action. Apart from banishing this hy- 
pocrisy which blends with the thought of the action the other aspect 
(being seen of men) which is not in the action, Jesus seems here to 
banish even the consciousness of the action as a duty fulfilled. u Let 
not the left hand know what the right hand doeth" cannot refer to 
making the action known to others but is the contrary of "being 
seen by others, " and if, then, it is to have meaning, it must denote 
one's own reflection on one's dutifulness. Whether in an action of 
mine I am the sole onlooker or whether I think that others too are 
onlookers, whether I enjoy only my own consciousness or whether I 
also enjoy the applause of others, makes no great difference. For when 
the applause of others at a victory won by duty, by the universal over 
the particular, is known to me, what has happened is, as it were, that 
universal and particular are not merely thought but seen, the uni- 
versal in the ideas of the others, the particular in them as themselves 
real entities. Moreover, the private consciousness of duty fulfilled 
is not different in kind from honor but is different from it only in so 
far as, when honor is given, universality is recognized as not merely 
ideally but also as really valid. The consciousness of having per- 
formed his duty enables the individual to claim universality for him- 
self; he intuits himself as universal, as raised above himself qua 
particular and above the whole sphere of particularity, i.e., above 
the mass of individuals. For as the concept of universality is ap- 
plied to the individual, so also the concept of particularity acquires 
this bearing on individuals and they set themselves, as particulars, 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

over against the individual who recognizes his universality by per- 
forming his duty; and this self-consciousness of his is as foreign to 
the action as men's applause. 

Of this conviction of self-righteousness and the consequent dis- 
paragement of others (which both stand in necessary connection on 
account of the necessary opposition of particular to universal), 
Jesus also speaks in the parable in Luke xviii. 9 ff. The Pharisee 
thanks God (and is too modest to recognize it as the strength of his 
own will) that he is not as many other men who are extortioners, 
unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican beside him; (273) he 
fasts as the rule prescribes and pays his tithes conscientiously as a 
righteous man should. Against this consciousness of righteousness 
(which is never said not to be genuine) Jesus sets the downcast 
eyes, which do not venture to lift themselves to heaven, of the 
publican who smites his breast and says : God be merciful to me a 
sinner. The consciousness of the Pharisee (a consciousness of duty 
done), like the consciousness of the young man (the consciousness 
of having truly observed all the laws Matthew xix. 20), this good 
conscience, is a hypocrisy because (a) even if it be bound up with 
the intention of the action, it is a reflection on itself and on the ac- 
tion, is something impure not belonging to the action; and (b) if it is 
an idea of the agent's self as a moral man, as in the case of the 
Pharisee and the young man, it is an idea whose content is made up 
of the virtues, i.e., of restricted things whose sphere is given, whose 
matter is limited, and which therefore are one and all incomplete, 
while the good conscience, the consciousness of having done one's 
duty, hypocritically claims to be the whole. 

In this same spirit Jesus speaks [Matthew vi. 5-18] of praying 
and fasting. Both are either wholly objective, through and through 
commanded duties, or else are merely based on some need. They 
cannot be represented as moral duties 42 because they presuppose no 
opposition capable of unification in a concept. In both of them Jesus 
censures the show which a man makes in the eyes of others by their 

42. [I.e., duties as they are conceived in what Hegel takes to be Kant's 
ethics.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

practice, and in the particular case of prayer he also condemns the 
numerous repetitions which give it the look of a duty and its per- 
formance. Jesus judges fasting (Matthew ix. 15 [: Can the children 
of the bride-chamber mourn so long as the bridegroom is with 
them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken 
from them, and then shall they fast]) by reference to the feeling 
which lies at its heart, to the need which impels us to it. As well as 
rejecting impurity of heart in prayer, Jesus prescribes a way to pray. 
Consideration of the true aspects of prayer is not relevant here. 

About the command which follows [Matthew vi. 19-34] to cast 
aside care for one's life and to despise riches, as also about Matthew 
xix. 23 : "How hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of 
Heaven," there is nothing to be said; it is a litany pardonable only 
in sermons and rhymes, for such a command is without truth for us. 
The fate of property has become too powerful for us to tolerate re- 
flections on it, to find its abolition thinkable. But this at least is to 
be noticed, that the possession of riches, with all the rights as well 
as all the cares connected with it, brings into human life definitive 
details whose restrictedness prescribes limits to the virtues, im- 
poses conditions on them, and makes them dependent on circum- 
stances. Within these limitations, there is room for duties and vir- 
tues, but they allow of no whole, of no complete life, (274) be- 
cause if life is bound up with objects, it is conditioned by some- 
thing outside itself, since in that event something is tacked on to 
life as its own which yet cannot be its property. 43 Wealth at once 
betrays its opposition to love, to the whole, because it is a right 
caught in a context of multiple rights, and this means that both its 
immediately appropriate virtue, honesty, and also the other virtues 
possible within its sphere, are of necessity linked with exclusion, 
and every act of virtue is in itself one of a pair of opposites. 44 A 
syncretism, a service of two masters, is unthinkable because the in- 

43. [Hegel conceives of life as a spiritual bond with spiritual properties. If 
the living being owns things, then they are tacked on to him, but they cannot be 
a property of his soul.] 

44. [The meaning seems to be that to act in accordance with one right is to 
exclude and perhaps to transgress other rights. See below, pp. 211-47.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

determinate and the determinate cannot retain their form and still 
be bound together. Jesus had to exhibit not simply the "fulfilment'' 
of duties but also the object of these principles, the essence of the 
sphere of duties, in order to destroy the domain opposed to love. 45 

The point of view from which Jesus attacks riches is brought 
forward by Luke (xii. 13) in a context which clarifies it. A man 
had asked Jesus to intercede with his brother about the division of 
their inheritance. To refuse a petition for such an intercession will 
be judged to be merely the behavior of an egoist. In his answer to 
the petitioner, Jesus seems to have directly alleged only his incom- 
petence to grant it. But there is more in the spirit of the reply than 
that he has no right to make the division, because he turns at once 
to his disciples with a warning against covetousness and adds a para- 
ble of a rich man whom God startled with the words : "Thou fool, 
this night thy soul shall be required of thee; whose then shall be 
what thou hast acquired? So is it with him who amasses treasure for 
himself and is not rich towards God." So Jesus alleges rights only 
to the profane inquirer; from his disciples he demands elevation 
above the sphere of rights, justice, equity, the friendly services men 
can perform in this sphere, above the whole sphere of property. 

To conscience, the consciousness of one's own dutifulness or un- 
dutifulness, there corresponds the application of the laws to others 
in judgment. "Judge not," says Jesus [Matthew vii. 1-5], "that ye 
be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be 
judged." This subsumption of others under a concept manifested 
in the law may be called a weakness on the ground that the judge 
is not strong enough to bear up against them altogether but divides 
them; he cannot hold out against their independence; he takes them 
not as they are but (275) as they ought to be; and by this judgment 
he has subjected them to himself in thought, since the concept, the 
universality, is his. But with this judging he has recognized a law 
and subjected himself to its bondage, has set up for himself also a cri- 

45. [I.e., the justification of what Jesus says about property lies for Hegel 
in the fact that he teaches that morality is essentially a matter of the inner life, 
and the danger is that legal rights with the externality and the specific details 
they entail may encroach upon that life or be taken as a substitute for it. 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

tcrion of judgment; and with the loving disposition which leads 
him to remove the mote from his brother's eye he has himself fallen 
under the realm of love. 46 

What follows [Matthew vii. 6-29] does not, like the earlier 
part, oppose to the laws a realm which is higher than they; it rather 
exhibits certain expressions of life in its beautiful free region as the 
unification of men in asking, giving, and receiving. The whole Ser- 
mon ends with the attempt to display the picture of man entirely 
outside the sphere in which it had been sketched earlier, where we 
had a picture of man in opposition to determinate prescriptions, with 
the result that purity of life appeared there rather in its modifica- 
tions, in particular virtues, as reconciliation, marital fidelity, hon- 
esty, etc. The picture of man could of course be so displayed only 
in inadequate parables. 

In contrast to this extinction of law and duty in love, which 
Jesus signalizes as the highest morality, there is the manner of John 
the Baptist, of which Luke (iii) has preserved some examples. "If 
you still hope to escape from the fate of the wrath to come," he 
says to the Jews, "it matters not that you have Abraham for your 
father, for the axe is even now laid to the root of the trees. " And 
when the Jews then asked him what they were to do, he replied: 
' 'He that hath two coats or hath food to spare, let him give to him 
that hath none." He warned the publicans not to exact more than 
was appointed them, the soldiers not to maim any man, not to pil- 
lage anything, but to live on their pay. It is also known of him (Mat- 
thew xiv. 4) that he launched forth into reproaches on the relations 

46. [The meaning perhaps is that by judging people we try to get the better 
of them in thought. E.g., envy may bring a consciousness of inferiority, and this 
may be transferred into its opposite by dividing (tcilcri) the person envied (i.e., 
by abstracting his position from his character) and then judging (urteilm) his 
character. We envy the man as he is, and we judge him by a concept, a thought, 
by our conception of what he ought to be, or by our conception of the laws by 
which he ought to abide. In this way we get the better of him, not in reality, 
but in thought, because the standard of judgment lies in our thinking. But this 
process recoils on us. We must be judged by the same standard. Further, if I 
love another enough to wish to remedy his defects, I must become wholly ani- 
mated by love and so heal my own faults by lifting myself onto the plane of 
love instead of law and judgment.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

between Herod and his brother's wife, a reproof which cost him his 
head. His fate was completed because of a specific reproof, just 
as his teaching (see the above examples) exhorts to specific virtues 
and shows that their great spirit, their all-pervasive soul, had not 
entered his consciousness. He felt this himself too and proclaimed 
another who with his fan in his hand would purge the threshing 
floor. John hoped and believed that his successor would substitute 
for his baptism of water a baptism with fire and the spirit. 

[ iii. THE MORAL TEACHING OF JESUS: (ft) LOVE AS THE 

TRANSCENDENCE OF PENAL JUSTICE AND THE 

RECONCILIATION OF FATE] 

(276) Over against the positivity of the Jews, Jesus set man; 
over against the laws and their obligatoriness he set the virtues, and 
in these the immorality of "positive" man 47 is overcome. It is true 
that "positive" man, in respect of a specific virtue which in him and 
for him is service, is neither moral nor immoral, and the service 
whereby he fulfils certain duties is not of necessity a nonvirtuous 
attitude to these same duties; but from another aspect there is 
linked with this neutrality of character a measure of immorality, 
because the agent's specific positive service has a limit which he 
cannot transcend, and hence beyond it he is immoral. 48 Thus this 
immorality of positivity does not open on the same aspect of human 
relations as positive obedience does; within the sphere of the latter 
the nonmoral [i.e., the morally neutral obedience] is not the im- 
moral (but the opposite of virtue is immorality or vice) , 49 

When subjectivity is set (277) against the positive, service's 
moral neutrality vanishes along with its limited character. Man 
confronts himself; his character and his deeds become the man him- 

47. [I.e., the man whose morality consists in obedience to positive com- 
mands, who is a slave to the law and in its service.] 

48. [If morality is supposed to consist in performing certain specific serv- 
ices, then anything else the man does beyond these is immoral. See below, pp. 
244-45.] 

49. [This phrase was in Hegel's original manuscript, but he later deleted 
it.] 

[224] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

self. He has barriers only where he erects them himself, and his vir- 
tues are determinacies which he fixes himself. This possibility of 
making a clear-cut opposition [between virtue and vice] is freedom, 
is the "or" in "virtue or vice." In the opposition of law to nature, 
of the universal to the particular, both opposites are posited, are 
actual; the one is not unless the other is. In the moral freedom 
which consists in the opposition of virtue to vice, the attainment of 
one is the exclusion of the other; and, hence, if one is actual, the 
other is only possible. 

The opposition of duty to inclination has found its unification in 
the modifications of love, i.e., in the virtues. Since law was op- 
posed to love, not in its content but in its form, it could be taken up 
into love, though in this process it lost its shape. To a trespass, how- 
ever, law is opposed in content; trespass precludes it, and yet it is. 
Trespass is a destruction of nature, and since nature is one, there is 
as much destruction in what destroys as in what is destroyed. If 
what is one is opposed, then a unification of the opposites is avail- 
able only in the concept [not in reality]. A law has been made; if 
the thing opposed to it has been destroyed, there still remains the 
concept, the law ; but it then expresses only the deficiency, only a 
gap, because its content has in reality 50 been annulled; and it is then 
called a penal law. This form of law (and the law's content) is the 
direct opposite of life because it signalizes the destruction of life. 
But it seems all the more difficult to think how the law in this form 
as penal justice can be superseded. In the previous supersession of 
law by the virtues, it was only the form of law, not its content, 
which had vanished; here, however, the content would be super- 
seded along with the form, since the content is punishment. 

Punishment lies directly in the offended law. The trespasser has 
forfeited the same right which his trespass has injured in another. 
The trespasser has put himself outside the concept which is the 
content of the law. The law merely says that he must lose the rights 
comprised in the law; but, because the law is directly only a 

50. [I.e., by the existence of the trespass, a real fact which yet negates the 
content of the law.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

thought, it is only the concept of the trespasser which loses the 
right; and in order that this loss may be actualized, i.e., in order 
that the trespasser may really lose what his concept has lost, (278) 
the law must be linked with life and clothed with might. Now if the 
law persists in its awful majesty, there is no escaping it, and there 
is no canceling the fact that the punishment of the trespass is de- 
served. The law cannot forgo the punishment, cannot be merciful, 
or it would cancel itself. The law has been broken by the trespasser; 
its content no longer exists for him; he has canceled it. But the form 
of the law, universality, pursues him and clings to his trespass; his 
deed becomes universal, and the right which he has canceled is also 
canceled for him. Thus the law remains, and a punishment, his 
desert, remains. But the living being whose might has been united 
with the law, the executor who deprives the trespasser in reality of 
the right which he has lost in the concept, i.e., the judge, is not ab- 
stract justice, but a living being, and justice is only his special char- 
acteristic. Punishment is inevitably deserved; that is inescapable. 
But the execution of justice is not inevitable, because as a character- 
istic of a living being it may vanish and another characteristic may 
come on the scene instead. Justice thus becomes something con- 
tingent; there may be a contradiction between it as universal, as 
thought, and it as real, i.e., in a living being. An avenger can for- 
give, can forgo his revenge, and a judge can give up acting as a 
judge, i.e., can pardon. But this does not satisfy justice, for justice 
is unbending; and, so long as laws are supreme, so long as there is 
no escape from them, so long must the individual be sacrificed to 
the universal, i.e., be put to death. For this reason it is also contra- 
dictory to contemplate satisfying the law by punishing one man as a 
representative of many like criminals, since, in so far as the others 
are looked on as suffering punishment in him, he is their universal, 
their concept; and the law, as ordering or punishing, is only law by 
being opposed to a particular. 51 The condition of the law's uni- 

5 1 . [Hegel seems here to be criticizing the Pauline doctrine of the Atone- 
ment as resting on legal conceptions superseded by the teaching of Jesus about 
love and as being unsatisfactory even on that basis.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

versality lies in the fact that either men in acting, or else their ac- 
tions, are particulars; and the actions are particulars in so far as they 
are considered in their bearing on universality, on the laws, i.e., 
considered as conforming to them or contravening them. From this 
point of view, their relation to the law, their specific character, can 
suffer no alteration; they are realities, they are what they are; what 
has happened cannot be undone; punishment follows the deed, and 
that connection is indissoluble. If there is no way to make an ac- 
tion undone, if its reality is eternal, then no reconciliation is possi- 
ble, not even through suffering punishment. To be sure, the law is 
satisfied when the trespasser is punished, since thus the contradic- 
tion between its declared fiat and the reality of the trespasser is 
annulled, and along with it the exception which the trespasser (279) 
wished to make to the universality of the law. Only the trespasser 
is not reconciled with the law, whether (a) the law is in his eyes 
something alien, or whether (/3) it is present in him subjectively as 
a bad conscience, (a) The alien power which the trespasser has cre- 
ated and armed against himself, this hostile being, ceases to work on 
him once it has punished him. When in its turn it has done to him 
just what he did himself, it then lets go, but it still withdraws to a 
threatening attitude; it has not lost its shape or been made friendly. 
(0) In the bad conscience (the consciousness of a bad action, of one's 
self as a bad man) punishment, once suffered, alters nothing. For the 
trespasser always sees himself as a trespasser; over his action as a 
reality he has no power, and this his reality 52 is in contradiction 
with his consciousness of the law. 

And yet the man cannot bear this disquiet; 53 from the terrifying 
reality of evil and the immutability of the law he can fly to grace 
alone. The oppression and grief of a bad conscience may drive him 
once more to a dishonesty, i.e., it may drive him to try running 
away from himself and therefore from the law and justice; he 
throws himself into the bosom of the administrator of abstract jus- 
tice in order to experience his goodness, in the hope that he will 

52. [I.e., his action as a part of himself.] 

53. [Angst, i.e., "dread"; cf. above, p. 141.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

close an eye and look on him as other than he is. It is not that he de- 
nies his transgression, but he has the dishonest wish that his trans- 
gression may be denied by goodness itself, and he finds consolation 
in the thought, in the untrue idea, which another being may frame 
of him. Thus at this level no return is possible to unity of conscious- 
ness by a pure route; except in dishonest entreaty there can be no 
cancellation of punishment, of the threatening law and the bad con- 
science. There can be no other cancellation so long as punishment 
has to be regarded solely as something absolute, so long as it is un- 
conditional, or so long as it has no aspect from which both it and 
what conditions it can be seen to be subordinate to a higher sphere. 
Law and punishment cannot he reconciled, but they can be tran- 
scended if fate can be reconciled. 

Punishment is the effect of a transgressed law from which the 
trespasser has torn himself free but on which he still depends; he 
cannot escape from the law or from punishment or from what he 
has done. Since the characteristic of the law is universality, the 
trespasser has smashed the matter of the law, but its form uni- 
versality remains. The law, whose master he believed he had be- 
come, remains, (280) but in its content it now appears in opposition 
to him because it has the shape of the deed which contradicts what 
previously was the law, while the content of the deed now has the 
shape of universality and is law. 54 This perversion of the law, the 
fact that it becomes the contrary of what it was before, is punish- 
ment. Because the man has cut himself loose from the law, he still 
remains in subjection to it. And since the law, as a universal, re- 
mains, so too does the deed, since it is the particular. 

Punishment represented as fate is of a quite different kind. In 
fate, punishment is a hostile power, an individual thing, in which 
universal and particular are united in the sense that in it there is no 
cleavage between command and its execution; there is such a cleav- 

54. [The universality of the law persists even if the trespasser denies the 
content of the law by his act, and it reasserts itself in the punishment. The lat- 
ter is a deed, like the trespass, and as such it is a content of the law; but be- 
cause the punishment is the result of the law, its content is universal as en- 
shrining the law itself.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

age, however, when law is in question, because the law is only a 
rule, something thought, and needs an opposite, a reality, from 
which it acquires its force. In the hostile power of fate, universal 
is not severed from particular in the way in which the law, as a 
universal, is opposed to man or his inclinations as the particular. 
Fate is just the enemy, and man stands over against it as a power 
fighting against it. Law, on the contrary, as universal, is lord of 
the particular and has subdued this man 56 to obedience. The tres- 
pass of the man regarded as in the toils of fate is therefore not a re- 
bellion of the subject against his ruler, the slave's flight from his 
master, liberation from subservience, not a revivification out of a 
dead situation, for the man is alive, and before he acts there is no 
cleavage, no opposition, much less a mastery. Only through a de- 
parture from that united life which is neither regulated by law nor 
at variance with law, only through the killing of life, is something 
alien produced. Destruction of life is not the nullification of life 
but its diremption, and the destruction consists in its transforma- 
tion into an enemy. 66 It is immortal, and, if slain, it appears as its 
terrifying ghost which vindicates every branch of life and lets 
loose its Eumenides. The illusion of trespass, its belief that it de- 
stroys the other's life and thinks itself enlarged thereby, is dissi- 
pated by the fact that the disembodied spirit of the injured life 
comes on the scene against the trespass, just as Banquo who came 
as a friend to Macbeth was not blotted out when he was murdered 
but immediately thereafter took his seat, not as a guest at the feast, 
but as an evil spirit. The trespasser intended to have to do with an- 
other's life, but he has only destroyed his own, for life is not dif- 
ferent from life, since life dwells in the single Godhead. In his ar- 
rogance he has destroyed indeed, but only the friendliness of life; 
he has perverted life into an enemy. It is the deed itself which has 
created a law whose domination now comes on the scene; this law 
(281) is the unification, in the concept, of the equality between the 

55. [I.e., the same man who vti\\fght against fate.] 

56. [I.e., the murderer thinks he has killed his victim. But he has only turned 
life into an enemy, only produced a ghost to terrify him.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

injured, apparently alien, life and the trespasser's own forfeited 
life. It is now for the first time that the injured life appears as a 
hostile power against the trespasser and maltreats him as he has 
maltreated the other. Hence punishment as fate is the equal reac- 
tion of the trespasser's own deed, of a power which he himself has 
armed, of an enemy made an enemy by himself. 

A reconciliation with fate seems still more difficult to conceive 
than one with the penal law, since a reconciliation with fate seems 
to require a cancellation of annihilation. But fate, so far as recon- 
cilability is concerned, has this advantage of the penal law, that it 
occurs within the orbit of life, while a crime falling under law and 
punishment occurs on the contrary in the orbit of insurmountable 
oppositions and absolutely real events. In the latter orbit it is in- 
conceivable that there should be any possibility of canceling pun- 
ishment or banishing the consciousness of being really evil, because 
the law is a power to which life is subject, above which there is 
nothing, not even the Deity, since God is only the power which 
the highest thought has, is only the administrator of the law. A real 
event can only be forgotten, i.e., it can be conceived in idea and 
then can fade away in another weakness [in oblivion], 57 though 
thereby its being would nonetheless still be posited as abiding. In 
the case of punishment as fate, however, the law is later than life 
and is outranked by it. There, the law is only the lack of life, de- 
fective life appearing as a power. And life can heal its wounds again; 
the severed, hostile life can return into itself again and annul the 
bungling achievement of a trespass, can annul the law and punish- 
ment. When the trespasser feels the disruption of his own life 
(suffers punishment) or knows himself (in his bad conscience) as 
disrupted, then the working of his fate commences, and this feeling 
of a life disrupted must become a longing for what has been lost. 
The deficiency is recognized as a part of himself, as what was to 

57. [The meaning is doubtful. Perhaps the real event is here regarded as a 
weakness in face of the law, so that, itself a weakness, it fades away in another. 
Or, alternatively, our memory image, or idea, of the event may be regarded as 
a weakness in comparison with the event itself, and this may be the weakness 
which fades away in oblivion, the other weakness.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

have been in him and is not. This lack is not a not-being but is life 
known and felt as not-being. 

To have felt this fate as possible is to fear it; and this is a feel- 
ing quite different from the fear of punishment. The former is 
fear of a separation, an awe of ones self; fear of punishment 
is fear of something alien, for (282) even if the law is known as 
one's own, still in the fear of punishment the punishment is some- 
thing alien unless the fear is conceived as fear of being unworthy. 
In punishment, however, there is added to the feeling of un- 
worthiness the reality of a misfortune, i.e., the loss of a well- 
being which one's concept [or essence] has lost and which there- 
fore one no longer deserves. Hence punishment presupposes an 
alien being who is lord of this reality [i.e., who inflicts the pain of 
punishment], and fear of punishment is fear of him. In fate, on the 
other hand, the hostile power is the power of life made hostile; 
hence fear of fate is not the fear of an alien being. Moreover, pun- 
ishment betters nothing, for it is only suffering, a feeling of impo- 
tence in face of a lord with whom the trespasser has and wants 
nothing in common. Its only effect is frowardness, obstinacy in op- 
position to an enemy by whom it would be a disgrace to be sub- 
dued, for that would be the man's self-surrender. In fate, however, 
the man recognizes his own life, and his supplication to it is not 
supplication to a lord but a reversion and an approach to himself. 

The fate in which the man senses what he has lost creates a long- 
ing for the lost life. This longing, if we are to speak of bettering and 
being bettered, may in itself be called a bettering, because, since it 
is a sense of the loss of life, it recognizes what has been lost as life, 
as what was once its friend, and this recognition is already itself 
an enjoyment of life. And the man animated by this longing may be 
conscientious in the sense that, in the contradiction between the 
consciousness of his guilt and the renewed sensing of life, he may 
still hold himself back from returning to the latter; he may prolong 
his bad conscience and feeling of grief and stimulate it every mo- 
ment; and thus he avoids being frivolous with life, because he post- 
pones reunion with it, postpones greeting it as a friend again, until 

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his longing for reunion springs from the deepest recesses of his 
soul. In sacrifices and penances criminals have made afflictions for 
themselves; as pilgrims in hair shirts and walking every step bare- 
foot on the hot sand, they have prolonged and multiplied their afflic- 
tion and their consciousness of being evil; what they have lost, this 
gap in their life, they have felt in their very bones, and yet in this ex- 
perience, though they sense their loss as something hostile, they 
yet sense it wholly as life; and this has made it possible for them to 
resume it again. Opposition is the possibility of reunification, and 
the extent to which in affliction life is felt as an opposite is also the ex- 
tent of the possibility of resuming it again. It is in the fact that even 
the enemy is felt as life that there lies the possibility of reconciling 
fate. This reconciliation is thus neither the destruction or subjuga- 
tion of something alien, nor a contradiction between consciousness 
of one's self and the hoped-for difference in another's idea of one's 
self, nor a contradiction (283) between desert in the eyes of the 
law and the actualization of the same, or between man as concept 
and man as reality. This sensing of life, a sensing which finds itself 
again, is love, and in love fate is reconciled. Thus considered, the 
trespasser's deed is no fragment; the action which issues from life, 
from the whole, also reveals the whole. But the trespass which is a 
transgression of a law is only a fragment, since there is outside it 
from the start the law which does not belong to it. The trespass 
which issues from life reveals the whole, but as divided, and the 
hostile parts can coalesce again into the whole. Justice is satis- 
fied, since the trespasser has sensed as injured in himself the same 
life that he has injured. The pricks of conscience have become 
blunt, since the deed's evil spirit has been chased away; there is no 
longer anything hostile in the man, and the deed remains at most 
as a soulless carcass lying in the charnel-house of actualities, in 
memories. 

But fate has a more extended domain than punishment has. It 
is aroused even by guilt without crime, and hence it is implicitly 
stricter than punishment. Its strictness often seems to pass over 
into the most crying injustice when it makes its appearance, more 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

terrible than ever, over against the most exalted form of guilt, the 
guilt of innocence. 58 I mean that, since laws are purely conceptual 
unifications of opposites, these concepts are far from exhausting the 
many-sidedness of life. Punishment exercises its domination only in 
so far as there is a consciousness of life at the point where a disunion 
has been reunified conceptually; but over the relations of life which 
have not been dissolved, over the sides of life which are given as 
vitally united, over the domains of the virtues, it exercises no 
power. Fate, on the other hand, is incorruptible and unbounded 
like life itself. It knows no given ties, no differences of standpoint 
or position, no precinct of virtue. Where life is injured, be it ever 
so rightly, i.e., even if no dissatisfaction (284) is felt, there fate ap- 
pears, and one may therefore say u never has innocence suffered; 
every suffering is guilt." But the honor of a pure soul is all the 
greater the more consciously it has done injury to life in order to 
maintain the supreme values, while a trespass is all the blacker, the 
more consciously an impure soul has injured life. 

A fate appears to arise only through another's deed; but this 
is only the occasion of the fate. What really produces it is the man- 
ner of receiving and reacting against the other's deed. If someone 
suffers an unjust attack, he can arm and defend himself and 
his right, or he may do the reverse. It is with his reaction, be it 
battle or submissive grief, that his guilt, his fate, begins. In neither 
case does he suffer punishment; but he suffers no wrong either. In 
battle he clings to his right and defends it. Even in submission he 
does not sacrifice his right; his grief is the contradiction between 
recognizing his right and lacking the force actually to hold onto 
it; he does not struggle for it, and his fate is his lack of will. If a 
man fights for what is in danger, he has not lost what he is strug- 
gling for; but by facing danger he has subjected himself to fate, for 
he enters on the battlefield of might against might and ventures to 

58. [Hegel is thinking of tragedy, where fate sometimes overtakes a hero 
(e.g., Oedipus) as a result of something he has innocently done. Schuld, 
"guilt/* is used in German either with or without a moral reference. The crimi- 
nal has Schuld for his crime, but the wind is also said to be schuldig for melting 
the snow, i.e., is the cause of the melting, or is responsible for it.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

oppose his adversary. Courage, however, is greater than grieving 
submission, for even though it succumbs, it has first recognized 
this possibility [of failure] and so has consciously made itself re- 
sponsible for it; grieving passivity, on the contrary, clings to its 
loss and fails to oppose it with all its strength. Yet the suffering ot 
courage is also a just fate, because the man of courage engages with 
the sphere of right and might. Hence the struggle for right, like 
passive suffering, is an unnatural situation in which there lies the 
contradiction between the concept of right and its actuality. For 
even in the struggle for right there is a contradiction; the right is 
something thought, a universal, while in the aggressor it is also a 
thought, though a different one; and hence there would here be 
two universals which would cancel each other out, and yet they 
persist. Similarly, the combatants are opposed as real entities, dif- 
ferent living beings; life is in conflict with life, which once again 
is a self-contradiction. By the self-defense of the injured party, the 
aggressor is likewise attacked and thereby is granted the right of 
self-defense (285); both are right, both arc at war, and this gives 
both the right of self-defense. Thus either they leave to power and 
strength the decision as to the side on which right lies, and then, 
since right and reality have nothing in common with one another, 
they confuse the two and make the former dependent on the latter; 
or xrlse they throw themselves on the mercy of a judge, i.e., their 
enmity leads them to surrender themselves unarmed and dead. 
They renounce their own mastery of actuality, they renounce 
might, and let something alien, a law on the judge's lips, pass sen- 
tence on them. Hence they submit to a treatment against which 
both parties had protested, for they had gainsaid the injury to their 
right, had set themselves against treatment by another. 59 

The truth of both opposites, courage and passivity, is so unified 
in beauty of soul that the life in the former remains though opposi- 
tion falls away, while the loss of right in the latter remains, but the 

59. [I.e., each quarreled with the other in the first place because each 
claimed a right and neither would submit to the other or tolerate any infringe- 
ment of his right by the other.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

grief disappears. There thus arises a transcendence of right with- 
out suffering, a living free elevation above the loss of right and 
above struggle. The man who lets go what another approaches 
with hostility, who ceases to call his what the other assails, escapes 
grief for loss, escapes handling by the other or by the judge, es- 
capes the necessity of engaging with the other. If any side of him is 
touched, he withdraws himself therefrom and simply lets go into 
the other's hands a thing which in the moment of the attack he has 
alienated. To renounce his relationships 60 in this way is to abstract 
from himself, but this process has no fixed limits. (The more vital 
the relations are, out of which, once they are sullied, a noble nature 
must withdraw himself, since he could not remain in them with- 
out himself becoming contaminated, the greater is his misfortune. 
But this misfortune is neither just nor unjust; it only becomes his 
fate because his disdain of those relations is his own will, his free 
choice. Every grief which thus results to him is so far just and is 
now his unhappy fate, a fate which he himself has consciously 
wrought; and it is his distinction to suffer justly, because he is 
raised so far above these rights that he 'willed to have them for 
enemies. Moreover, since this fate is rooted in himself, he can en- 
dure it, face it, because his griefs are not a pure passivity, the pre- 
dominance of an alien being, but are produced by himself.) To 
save himself, the man kills himself; to avoid seeing his own being 
in another's power, he no longer calls it his own, and so he annihi- 
lates himself in (286) wishing to maintain himself, since anything 
in another's power would no longer be the man himself, and there 
is nothing in him which could not be attacked and sacrificed. 61 

Unhappiness may become so great that his fate, this self-de- 
struction, drives him so far toward the renunciation of life that he 

60. [I.e., property relationships. But other relations with others are also 
meant. E.g., X may try to alienate Y's friend, and Y may just withdraw out of 
this friendship relation and make no resistance. But this is to "abstract from 
himself," i.e., to renounce part of his own being.] 

61. [I.e., in wishing to escape another's power, in wishing to maintain his 
own independence, he has to carry abstraction so far that he ultimately de- 
stroys himself. With this account of the "beautiful soul" compare Hegel's 
Phenomenology of Mind, English trans. (2d ed.), pp. 663 ff.] 

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must withdraw into the void altogether. But, by himself setting an 
absolutely total fate over against himself, the man has eo if so lifted 
himself above fate entirely. Life has become untrue to him, not he 
to life. He has fled from life but done no injury to it. He may long 
for it as for an absent friend, but it cannot pursue him like an ene- 
my. On no side is he vulnerable; like a sensitive plant, he with- 
draws into himself when touched. Rather than make life his enemy, 
rather than rouse a fate against himself, he flies from life. Hence 
Jesus [Luke xiv. 26] required his friends to forsake father, mother, 
and everything in order to avoid entry into a league with the pro- 
fane world and so into the sphere where a fate becomes possible. 
Again [Matthew v. 40 and 29-30] : "If a man take thy coat, give 
him thy cloak also; if a member offend thee, cut it off." 

Beauty of soul has as its negative attribute the highest freedom, 
i.e., the potentiality of renouncing everything in order to maintain 
one's self. Yet the man who seeks to save his life will lose it [Mat- 
thew x. 39]. Hence supreme guilt is compatible with supreme in- 
nocence; the supreme wretchedest fate with elevation above all 
fate. 62 A heart thus lifted above the ties of rights, disentangled from 
everything objective, has nothing to forgive the offender, for it 
sacrificed its right as soon as the object over which it had a right 
was assailed, and thus the offender has done no injury to any right 
at all. Such a heart is open to reconciliation, for it is able forthwith 
to reassume any vital relationship, to re-enter the ties of friendship 
and love, since it has done no injury at all to life in itself. On its side 
there stands in the way no hostile feeling, no consciousness, no de- 
mand on another for the restoration of an infringed right, no pride 
which would claim from another in a lower sphere, i.e., in the 
realm of rights, an acknowledgment of subordination. Forgiveness 
of sins, readiness to reconcile one's self with another, Jesus makes 
an express condition of the forgiveness of one's own sins, the can- 
cellation of one's hostile fate. (287) Both are only different applica- 

62. [Try to escape all responsibility, cut yourself off from everything in 
life that may hurt or contaminate, and you find that annihilation follows; you 
are caught after all in an insurmountable fate.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

tions of the same character of soul. In reconciliation with one who 
hurts us, the heart no longer stands on the right acquired in opposi- 
tion to the offender. By giving up its right, as its hostile fate, to 
the evil genius of the other, the heart reconciles itself with him, and 
thereby has won just so much for itself in the field of life, has made 
friendly just so much life as was hostile to it, has reconciled the 
divine to itself; and the fate it had aroused against itself by its own 
deed has dissolved into the airs of night. 

Apart from the personal hatred which springs from the injury 
befalling the individual and which strives to bring to fulfilment the 
right against the other to which the situation gives rise, apart from 
this hatred there is also the righteous man's rage, a hating rigorous 
dutifulness, which must needs rage not over an injury to his in- 
dividuality but over an injury to his intellectual conceptions, i.e., 
to the commands of duty. By discerning and laying down the rights 
and duties of others, and by judging others accordingly and so ex- 
hibiting their subjection to these duties and rights, this righteous 
hatred imposes these same standards on itself. In its righteous 
wrath against those who transgress these, it sets up a fate for them 
and does not pardon them; but thereby it has taken from itself the 
possibility of being pardoned for its own sins, of being reconciled 
with a fate which they would bring on it, for it has fixed spe- 
cific standards which do not permit it to soar above its real situa- 
tion, i.e., above its sins. To this context belong the commands 
[Matthew vii. 1-2] : "Judge not that ye be not judged; with what 
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." The measur- 
ing rod is law and right. The first of these commands, however, 
cannot mean : Whatever illegality you overlook in your neighbor 
and allow to him will also be overlooked in you. A league of bad 
men grants leave to every member to be bad. No, it means : Beware 
of (288) taking righteousness and love as a dependence on laws 
and as an obedience to commands, instead of regarding them as 
issuing from life. If you ignore this warning, you are recognizing 
over you a lord before whom you are impotent, who is stronger 
than you, a power who is not yourself. You are then setting up for 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

yourself and for others an alien power over your deed; you are 
elevating into an absolute what is only a fragment of the whole 
of the human heart. Thereby you are making the laws dominant, 
while you make your sensuous side or your individuality a slave. 
In this way you set up the possibility of punishment, not of a 
fate; the former comes from the outside, from something independ- 
ent, the latter is fixed by your nature, and even if it is something 
now hostile, still it is set up not above you, but only against you. 

A man would be entangled in a fate by another's deed if he picked 
up the gauntlet and insisted on his right against the transgressor; 
but this fate is turned aside if he surrenders the right and clings to 
love. And not this fate only; even a fate aroused against himself by 
his own deed in unrighteously injuring life he can put to sleep again 
if his love grows stronger. The punishment inflicted by law is mere- 
ly just. The common character, the connection of crime and pun- 
ishment, is only equality, not life. The same blows which the tres- 
passer has dealt he experiences himself; tyrants are confronted by 
torturers, murderers by executioners. The torturers and execu- 
tioners, who do the same as the tyrants and the murderers did, are 
called just, simply because they give like for like. They may act 
deliberately as avengers or unconsciously as tools; yet we take ac- 
count not of their soul but only of their deed. Of reconciliation, of a 
return to life, there thus can be no question so far as justice is con- 
cerned. Before the law the criminal is nothing but a criminal. Yet 
the law is a fragment of human nature, and so is the criminal; if the 
law were a whole, an absolute, then the criminal 'would be only a 
criminal. Even in the hostility of fate a man has a sense of just pun- 
ishment; but since this hostility is not grounded in an alien law 
superior to the man, since on the contrary it is from him that the 
law and right of fate first arise, a return is possible to the original 
situation, to wholeness. For the sinner is more than a sin existent, 
a trespass possessed of personality; he is a man, trespass and fate 
are in him. He can return to himself again, and, if he does so, then 
trespass and fate are under him. The elements of reality are dis- 
solved; (289) spirit and body are severed; the deed still subsists, 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

but only as something past, as a fragment, as a corpse. That part 
of it which was a bad conscience has disappeared, and the remem- 
brance of the deed is no longer that conscience's intuition of itself; 
in love, life has found life once more. Between sin and its forgive- 
ness there is as little place for an alien thing as there is between sin 
and punishment. Life has severed itself from itself and united itself 
again. 

Jesus too found within nature [i.e., in "life"] the connection be- 
tween sins and the forgiveness of sins, between estrangement from 
God and reconciliation with him, though this is something which 
can be fully shown only in the sequel [in iv] . Here, however, this 
much may be adduced. He placed reconciliation in love and fulness 
of life and expressed himself to that effect on every occasion with 
little change of form. Where he found faith, he used the bold ex- 
pression [Luke vii. 48] : "Thy sins are forgiven thee." This ex- 
pression is no objective cancellation of punishment, no destruction 
of the still subsisting fate, but the confidence which recognized it- 
self in the faith of the woman who touched him, recognized in her 
a heart like his own, read in her faith her heart's elevation above 
law and fate, and declared to her the forgiveness of her sins. A soul 
which throws itself into the arms of purity itself with such full 
trust in a man, with such devotion to him, with the love that re- 
serves nothing for itself, must itself be a pure or a purified soul. 
Faith in Jesus means more than knowing his real personality, feel- 
ing one's own reality as inferior to his in might and strength, and 
being his servant. Faith is a knowledge of spirit through spirit, and 
only like spirits can know and understand one another; unlike ones 
can know only that they are not what the other is. Difference in 
might of spirit, in degree of force, is not unlikeness, but the weaker 
hangs on the superior like a child, or can be drawn up to him. So 
long as he loves beauty in another and so long as beauty is in him 
though undeveloped (i.e., so long as in acting and doing he is not 
yet set in equipoise and peace against the world, so long as he has 
not yet reached a firm consciousness of his relation to things), so 
long is he still at the level of faith alone. As Jesus says (John xii. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

36): Until 63 you have light yourselves, believe in the light and 
thereby become yourselves children of the light. Of Jesus himself, 
on the other hand, it is said (John ii. 25) (290) : He did not commit 
himself to the Jews who believed on him, because he knew them 
and because he did not need their witness; it was not in them that 
he first came to know himself. 

Boldness and confidence of decision about fulness of life, about 
abundance of love, arise from the feeling of the man who bears in 
himself the whole of human nature. Such a heart has no need of the 
much-vaunted profound "knowledge of men" 64 which for dis- 
tracted beings whose nature comprises many and variegated one- 
sidednesses, a vast multiplicity without unity, is indeed a science of 
wide range and wide utility; but the spirit, which is what they seek, 
always eludes them and they discover nothing save isolated details. 
An integrated nature penetrates the feelings of another in a moment 
and senses the other's harmony or disharmony; hence the unhesitat- 
ing, confident, words of Jesus: Thy sins are forgiven thee. 

In the spirit of the Jews there stood between impulse and action, 
desire and deed, between life and trespass, trespass and pardon, an 
impassable gulf, an alien court of judgment. When, then, they were 
referred to love as a bond in man between sin and reconciliation, 
their loveless nature must have been shocked, and, when their 
hatred took the form of a judgment, the thought of such a bond 
must to their minds have been the thought of a lunatic. For they 
had committed all harmony among men, all love, spirit, and life, to 
an alien object; they had alienated from themselves all the genii 
in which men are united; they had put nature in the hands of an 
alien being. What held them together was chains, laws given by the 
superior power. The consciousness of disobedience to the Lord 

63. [Here, as usual in his citations of the New Testament, Hegel is making 
his own translation direct from the Greek text. But although his substitution of 
"until" for the usual translation ("while") is not wholly impossible, it is prob- 
ably incorrect.] 

64. [I.e., "the knowledge whose aim is to detect the peculiarities, passions, 
and foibles of other men, and lay bare what are called the recesses of the human 
heart" (Hegel's Encyclopedia [3d ed.], 377).] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

found its satisfaction directly in the appointed punishment or pay- 
ment for guilt. A bad conscience they knew only as fear of punish- 
ment. Such a conscience, as a consciousness of self in opposition 
to self, always presupposes an ideal over against a reality which 
fails to correspond with the ideal, and the ideal is in man, a con- 
sciousness of his own whole nature; but the indigence of the Jews 
was such that, when they looked into their own hearts, there was 
nothing left there to see: they had renounced all nobility and all 
beauty. Their poverty had to serve a being infinitely (291) rich, 
and by purloining something from him and thereby stealing for 
themselves a sense of selfhood, these men of bad conscience had 
made their reality not still poorer but richer. But the result was 
that they then had to fear the Lord they had robbed; he would let 
them repay their theft and make sacrifices, and thus he would hurl 
them back again into the sense of their poverty. Only by a pay- 
ment to their almighty creditor would they be free of their debts, 
and after paying they would be once again without possessions. 

A guilt-conscious but better soul will purchase no favor by a 
sacrifice, will not pay back the theft; on the contrary, in willing 
privation, with a warmhearted gift, with no sense of duty or service, 
but in earnest prayer and with its whole self, it will approach a 
pure soul in order to gain what it cannot bring to consciousness in 
itself, 65 namely, to gain strength of life and win free pleasure and 
joy in the intuition of the beauty it has beheld in that pure soul. 
The Jew, per contra, in paying his debt had simply readopted the 
service he wanted to escape, and he left the altar with the feeling 
of an abortive quest and the re-recognition of his subjection to 
bondage. In contrast with the Jewish reversion to obedience, recon- 
ciliation in love is a liberation; in contrast with the re-recognition 
of lordship, it is the cancellation of lordship in the restoration of the 
living bond, of that spirit of love and mutual faith which, considered 
in relation to lordship, is the highest freedom. This situation is [for 
the Jew] the most incomprehensible opposite of the Jewish spirit. 

65. [I.e., an inner consciousness of "beauty" is impossible for a soul con- 
scious of being sullied by guilt.] 

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After Peter had recognized Jesus as divine in nature [Matthew 
xvi. 13 ff.] and thereby proved that he had a sense of the whole 
depth of man because he had been able to take a man as a son of 
God, Jesus gave over to him the power of the keys of the Kingdom 
jof Heaven. What he bound was to be bound in Heaven, what he 
loosed was to be loosed in Heaven also. Since Peter had become 
conscious of a God in one man, he must also have been able to recog- 
nize in anyone else the divinity or nondivinity of his being, or to 
recognize it in a third party 86 as that party's sensing of divinity or 
nondivinity, i.e., as the strength of that party's belief or disbelief 
which would or would not free him from every remaining fate, 
which would or would not lift him above the eternal immutable 
domination and law. (292) He must have understood men's hearts 
and known whether their deeds had perished or whether the spirits 
of them (guilt and fate) still subsisted. He must have been able to 
bind, i.e., to declare what still fell under the reality of crime, and to 
loose, i.e., to declare what was elevated above that reality. 

Another beautiful example of a returning sinner appears in the 
story of Jesus: the famous and beautiful sinner, Mary Magdalene. 
It may not be taken ill if two narratives [Matthew xxvi and Luke 
vii], divergent in time, place, and other details, and indicative of 
different events, are here treated only as different forms of the 
same story, because nothing is to be said about the actual facts, and 
in our opinion there is no misrepresentation. Mary, conscious of 
her guilt, hears that Jesus is eating in a Pharisee's house among a 
large company of righteous, honest folk (hannetes gens, those who 
are bitterest against the sins of a beautiful soul) . Her heart drives 
her through this company to Jesus; weeping, she walks up to his 
feet, washes them with her tears and dries them with the hair of 
her head; she kisses them and anoints them with ointment, with 
pure and costly spikenard. The girl's pride, shyness, and self-suffic- 
ingness forbid the public utterance of her love's need; far less 
can she pour out her soul and brave the glances of legally minded 

66. [I.e., the recognition of divinity in Jesus made Peter capable of recogniz- 
ing divinity, or the lack of it, in himself and then in any third party.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

and righteous people like the Pharisees and the disciples, because 
her sins consist in her transgression of what is right; but a soul, 
deeply hurt and almost in despair, must decry herself and her bash- 
fulness and, despite her own feeling for what is right, must offer 
all the riches of her loving heart so that she can drown her con- 
sciousness in this fervent joy. In face of these floods of tears, these 
loving kisses extinguishing all guilt, this bliss of love drinking 
reconciliation from its effusion, the righteous Simon feels only the 
impropriety of Jesus' dealing at all with such a creature. He takes 
this feeling so much for granted that he does not express it or act 
upon it, but he can forthwith draw the inference that if Jesus were 
a seer he would know that this woman was a sinner. "Her many 
sins are forgiven," Jesus says, "for she loved much; but to whom 
little is forgiven, the same has loved little." Simon expressed only 
his power of judgment. But in Jesus' friends there was stirring a 
much nobler interest, a moral one. The ointment might have been 
sold for three hundred pence and the money given to the poor. Their 
moral tendency to do good to the poor and their calculating pru- 
dence, (293) their watchful virtue (a thing of the head, not the 
heart), all this is only a crude attitude, for not only did they fail to 
grasp the beautiful situation but they even did injury to the holy 
outpouring of a loving heart. "Why do you trouble her," says 
Jesus, "she has wrought a beautiful work upon me," and this is the 
only thing in the whole story of Jesus which goes by the name of 
"beautiful." 67 So unsophisticated an action, an action so void of any 
intent to make useful application of deed or doctrine, is the self- 
expression only of a woman whose heart is full of love. Not for an 
empty reason, not even for the sake of giving the disciples a proper 
outlook, but for the sake of attaining an atmosphere of peace, Jesus 
has to turn their attention to an aspect to which they are responsive 
but whose beauty he will not illumine for them. He deduces 
from the action a sort of reverence for his own person. In face of 

67. [The Greek word Ka\6v, translated in the A.V. by "good" means "ex- 
cellent." It is often translated "beautiful," but the reference in this passage, 
and commonly elsewhere, is probably to moral rather than to aesthetic excel- 
lence.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

crude souls a man must be content to avert any act of theirs which 
would profane a beautiful heart. It would be futile to try explaining 
to coarse organs the fine fragrance of the spirit whose breath they 
could not feel. "She has anointed me," Jesus says, "for my burial." 
"Thy many sins are forgiven thee, for thou hast loved much. Go 
in peace, thy faith hath saved thee." Would anyone say it had been 
better for Mary to have yielded to the fate of the Jewish life, to 
have passed away as an automaton of her time, righteous and ordi- 
nary, without sin and without love? Without sin, because the era 
of her people was one of those in which the beautiful heart could 
not live without sin, but in this, as in any era, could return through 
love to the most beautiful consciousness. 

But love reconciles not only the trespasser with his fate but also 
man with virtue, i.e., if love were not the sole principle of virtue, 
then every virtue would be at the same time a vice. To complete 
subjection under the law of an alien Lord, Jesus opposed not a par- 
tial subjection under a law of one's own, the self-coercion of Kan- 
tian virtue, but virtues without lordship and without submission, 
i.e., virtues as modifications of love. If the virtues had to be re- 
garded otherwise than as modifications of one living spirit, if every 
virtue were an absolute virtue, the result would be insoluble con- 
flicts arising from the plurality of absolutes. If there is no such 
unification in one spirit, every virtue has something defective 
about it, since each is by its very name a single and so a restricted 
virtue. (294) The. circumstances in which it is possible the ob- 
jects, the conditions of an action are something accidental; be- 
sides, the relation of the virtue to its object is a single one; it pre- 
cludes other relations to that object as well as relations of the same 
virtue to other objects. Hence every virtue, alike in its concept and 
in its activity, has its limit which it cannot overstep. A man of this 
specific virtue who acts beyond the limit of his virtue can act only 
viciously, for he remains a virtuous man only in so far as he is true 
to his virtue. But if there dwells in him another virtue which has its 
sphere beyond the limit of the first, then we may indeed say that 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

the virtuous disposition considered by itself and in general, i.e., ab- 
stracted from the virtues here posited, does not come into con- 
flict, because the virtuous disposition is one and one only. But this is 
to annul what was presupposed; for, if both virtues are posited, the 
exercise of one annuls the material of the other together with the 
potentiality of exercising the other which is just as absolute as the 
first, and hence the legitimate demands of the other are dismissed. 
A right given up for the one relation can no longer be a right for 
the other, or, if it is saved up for the other, the first must starve. 
In proportion as the mutiplicity of human relationships grows, the 
mass of virtues also increases, and in consequence the mass of in- 
evitable conflicts and the impossibility of fulfilment. If the man of 
many virtues tries to make a hierarchy of his creditors, all of whom 
he cannot satisfy, he declares himself as less indebted to those he 
subordinates than to the others which he calls higher. Virtues there- 
fore may cease to be absolutely obligatory and thus may become 
vices. 

In this many-sidedness of human relations and this multiplicity 
of virtues, nothing remains save despair of virtue and trespass of 
virtue itself. Only when no virtue claims to subsist firmly and 
absolutely in its restricted form; only when every restricted virtue 
renounces its insistence on entering even that situation into which 
it alone can enter; only when it is simply the one living spirit which 
acts and restricts itself in accordance with the whole of the given 
situation, in complete absence of external restriction, and without 
at the same time being divided by the manifold character of the 
situation; then and then only does the many-sidedness of the situa- 
tion remain, though the mass of absolute and incompatible virtues 
vanishes. Here there can be no question of holding that underlying 
all the virtues there is one and the same basic principle which, al- 
ways the same in different circumstances, appears differently modi- 
fied as a particular virtue. Just because such a principle is a universal 
and so a concept, there must inevitably appear in determinate cir- 
cumstances its determinate application, (295) a determinate virtue, 
a specific duty. (The multiple circumstances as given realities, the 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

principle which is the rule for all of them, and the applications of 
the principle, i.e., the numerous virtues, all these are immutable.) 
Where they subsist together thus absolutely, the virtues simply 
destroy one another. Their unity on the strength of the rule is only 
apparent, for the rule is only a thought, and such a unity neither 
annuls multiplicity nor unifies it; it only lets it subsist in its whole 
strength. 

A living bond of the virtues, a living unity, is quite different from 
the unity of the concept; it does not set up a determinate virtue for 
determinate circumstances, but appears, even in the most variegated 
mixture of relations, untorn and unitary. Its external shape may be 
modified in infinite ways; it will never have the same shape twice. 
Its expression will never be able to afford a rule, since it never has 
the force of a universal opposed to a particular. Just as virtue is the 
complement of obedience to law, so love is the complement of the 
virtues. By it all one-sidednesses, all exclusivenesses, all restricted 
virtues, are annulled. There are no longer any virtuous sins or 
sinning virtues, since it is the living interrelation of men in their 
essential being. In it all severances, all restrictions, disappear, and 
so, too, the limitations on the virtues cease to exist. Where could 
there be room for determinate virtues when no right remains to be 
surrendered? Jesus demands that love shall be the soul of his friends 
[John xiii. 34-35]: "A new commandment give I unto you, that 
ye love one another; thereby will men know that ye are my 
friends." 

Universal philanthropy, i.e., the philanthropy which is to extend 
to all, even to those of whom the philanthropist knows nothing, 
whom he has not met, with whom he stands in no relation, is a 
shallow but characteristic discovery of ages which, because their 
real achievement is so poor, cannot help setting up ideal com- 
mands, virtues directed on an ens rationis, for the sake of appearing 
remarkably splendid in such conceptual objects. 68 Love for one's 

68. [I.e., it is possible to feel one's self magnificent on the strength of hav- 
ing fine ideals, empty of reality, even if one's real achievements are miserably 
poor.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

nearest neighbors is philanthropy toward those with whom each 
one of us comes into contact. A thought cannot be loved. Of course 
"love cannot be commanded"; of course it is "pathological, (296) 
an inclination"; 69 but it detracts nothing from its greatness, it does 
not degrade it, that its essence is not a domination of something 
alien to it. But this does not mean that it is something subordinate 
to duty and right; on the contrary, it is rather love's triumph over 
these that it lords it over nothing, is without any hostile power over 
another. "Love has conquered" does not mean the same as "duty 
has conquered," i.e., subdued its enemies; it means that love has 
overcome hostility. It is a sort of dishonor to love when it is com- 
manded, i.e., when love, something living, a spirit, is called by 
name. To name it is to reflect on it, and its name or the utterance of 
its name is not spirit, not its essence, but something opposed to 
that. Only in name or as a word, can it be commanded; it is only 
possible to say: Thou shalt love. Love itself pronounces no im- 
perative. It is no universal opposed to a particular, no unity of the 
concept, but a unity of spirit, divinity. To love God is to feel one's 
self in the "all" of life, with no restrictions, in the infinite. In this 
feeling of harmony there is no universality, since in a harmony the 
particular is not in discord but in concord, or otherwise there would 
be no harmony. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" does not mean to 
love him as much as yourself, for self-love is a word without mean- 
ing. It means "love him as the man whom thou art," i.e., love is a 
sensing of a life similar to one's own, not a stronger or a weaker 
one. Only through love is the might of objectivity broken, for love 
upsets its whole sphere. The virtues, because of their limits, always 
put something objective beyond them, and the variety of virtues an 
all the greater and insurmountable multiplicity of objectivity. Love 
alone has no limits. What it has not united with itself is not objec- 
tive to it; love has overlooked it or not yet developed it; it is not 
confronted by it. 

69. [Hegel is quoting and criticizing Kant. See Kant's Theory of Ethics^ 
trans. Abbott, pp. 175-76. Cf. above, pp. 210-213.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

(297) Jesus' leave-taking from his friends took the form of cele- 
brating a love-feast. Love is less than religion, and this meal, too, 
therefore is not strictly a religious action, for only a unification in 
love, made objective by imagination, can be the object of religious 
veneration. In a love-feast, however, love itself lives and is ex- 
pressed, and every action in connection with it is simply an ex- 
pression of love. Love itself is present only as an emotion, not as an 
image also. The feeling and the representation of the feeling are not 
unified by fancy. Yet in the love-feast there is also something ob- 
jective in evidence, to which feeling is linked but with which it 
is not yet united into an image. Hence this eating hovers between 
a common table of friendship and a religious act, and this hovering 
makes difficult the clear interpretation of its spirit. Jesus broke 
bread: "Take, this is my body given for you; do this in remem- 
brance of me. Likewise took he the cup. Drink ye all of it; this is 
my blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many 
for the remission of sins; do this in remembrance of me." 

When an Arab has drunk a cup of coffee with a stranger, he has 
eo if so made a bond of friendship with him. This common action has 
linked them, and on the strength of this link the Arab is bound to 
render him all loyalty and help. The common eating and drinking 
here is not what is called a symbol. The connection between sym- 
bol and symbolized is not itself spiritual, is not life, but an objec- 
tive bond; symbol and symbolized are strangers to one another, and 
their connection lies outside them in a third thing; their connection 
is only a connection in thought. To eat and drink with someone is 
an act of union and is itself a felt union, not a conventional symbol. 
It runs counter to natural human feeling to drink a glass of wine 
with an enemy; the sense of community in this action would con- 
tradict the attitude of the parties to one another at other times. 

The supper shared by Jesus and his disciples is in itself an act of 
friendship; but a still closer link is the solemn eating of the same 
bread, drinking from the same cup. This too is not a mere symbol of 
friendship, but an act, a feeling of friendship itself, of the spirit of 
love. But the sequel, the declaration of Jesus that "this is my body, 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

this is my blood" approximates the action to a religious one but 
does not make it one; this declaration, and the accompanying dis- 
tribution of food and drink, makes the feeling to some extent ob- 
jective. Their association with Jesus, their friendship with one an- 
other, and their unification in their (298) center, their teacher, are 
not merely sensed. On the contrary, since Jesus calls the bread and 
wine, which he distributes to all, his body and blood given for them, 
the unification is no longer merely felt but has become visible. 
It is not merely represented in an image, an allegorical figure, but 
linked to a reality, eaten and enjoyed in a reality, the bread. Hence 
the feeling becomes in a way objective; yet this bread and wine, and 
the act of distribution, are not purely objective; there is more in 
the distribution than is seen; it is a mystical action. A spectator ig- 
norant of their friendship and with no understanding of the words of 
Jesus would have seen nothing save the distribution of some bread 
and wine and the enjoyment of these. Similarly, when friends part 
and break a ring and each keeps one piece, a spectator sees nothing 
but the breaking of a useful thing and its division into useless and 
valueless pieces; the mystical aspect of the pieces he has failed to 
grasp. Objectively considered, then, the bread is just bread, the 
wine just wine; yet both are something more. This "more" is not 
connected with the objects (like an explanation) by a mere u just 
as"': "just as the single pieces which you eat are from one loaf and 
the wine you drink is from the same cup, so are you mere par- 
ticulars, though one in love, in the spirit"; "just as you all share in 
this bread and wine, so you all share in my sacrifice"; or whatever 
other "just as" you like to find here. Yet the connection of objec- 
tive and subjective, of the bread and the persons, is here not the 
connection of allegorized with allegory, with the parable in which 
the different things, the things compared, are set forth as severed, as 
separate, and all that is asked is a comparison, the thought of the 
likeness of dissimilars. On the contrary, in this link between bread 
and persons, difference disappears, and with it the possibility of 
comparison. Things heterogeneous are here most intimately con- 
nected. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

In the words (John vi. 56) "Who eats my flesh and drinks my 
blood dwelleth in me and I in him," or (John x. 7) "I am the 
door," and in similar harsh juxtapositions, we are forced to repre- 
sent what is bound together as severed into different things com- 
pared together, and the bond must be regarded as a comparison. 
Here, however, bread and wine, like the mystical pieces of the 
ring, become mystical objects, for Jesus calls them his flesh and 
blood, and a pleasure, a feeling, is their direct accompaniment. He 
broke bread and gave it to his friends: "Take, eat, this is my body 
sacrificed for you." So also when he took the cup: "Drink ye all 
of it; this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, poured out for 
many for the remission of their sins." Not only is the wine blood 
but the blood is spirit. (299) The common goblet, the common 
drinking, is the spirit of a new covenant, a spirit which permeates 
many, in which many drink life that they may rise above their 
sins. "And of the fruit of the vine I will not drink again until the 
day when all shall be fulfilled, when I shall be with you again and 
will drink it new, drink a new life with you in my father's king- 
dom" [Matthew xxvi. 29]. The connection between the blood 
poured out and the friends of Jesus is not that it was shed for them as 
something objective to them for their well-being, for their use. The 
connection (cf. the saying "who eats my flesh and drinks my 
blood") is the tie between them and the wine which they all drink 
out of the same cup and which is for all and the same for all. All 
drink together; a like emotion is in them all; all are permeated by 
the like spirit of love. If they are made alike simply as recipients of 
an advantage, a benefit, accruing from a sacrifice of body and an out- 
pouring of blood, then they would only be united in a like concept. 
But because they eat the bread and drink the wine, because his body 
and his blood pass over into them, Jesus is in them all, and his es- 
sence, as love, has divinely permeated them. Hence the bread and 
the wine are not just an object, something for the intellect. The 
action of eating and drinking is not just a self-unification brought 
about through the destruction of food and drink, nor is it just the 
sensation of merely tasting food and drink. The spirit of Jesus, in 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

which his disciples are one, has become a present object, a reality, 
for external feeling. Yet the love made objective, this subjective 
element become a thing, reverts once more to its nature, becomes 
subjective again in the eating. This return may perhaps in this re- 
spect be compared with the thought which in the written word be- 
comes a thing and which recaptures its subjectivity out of an ob- 
ject, out of something lifeless, when we read. The simile would be 
more striking if the written word were read away, if by being un- 
derstood it vanished as a thing, just as in the enjoyment of bread 
and wine not only is a feeling for these mystical objects aroused, 
not only is the spirit made alive, but the objects vanish as objects. 
Thus the action seems purer, more appropriate to its end, in so far 
as it affords spirit only, feeling only, and robs the intellect of its 
own, i.e., destroys the matter, the soulless. When lovers sacrifice 
before the altar of the goddess of love and the prayerful breath of 
their emotion fans their emotion to a white-hot flame, the goddess 
herself has entered their hearts, yet the marble statue remains 
standing in front of them. In the love-feast, on the other hand, the 
corporeal vanishes and only living feeling is present. 

(300) But what prevents the action [of eating and drinking] from 
becoming a religious one is just the fact that the kind of objectivity 
here in question is totally annulled, while feeling remains, the fact 
that there is a son of confusion between object and subject rather 
than a unification, the fact that love here becomes visible in and 
attached to something which is to be destroyed. The bread is to be 
eaten, the wine to be drunk; therefore they cannot be something 
divine. What, on the one hand, they presuppose (namely, the fact 
that the feeling attached to them reverts, as it were, from their ob- 
jectivity to its own nature, the fact that the mystical object becomes 
a purely subjective thing once more), this, on the other hand, they 
lose just because love is not made objective enough by them. Some- 
thing divine, just because it is divine, cannot present itself in the 
shape of food and drink. In a parable there is no demand that the 
different things compared shall be understood as a unity; but here 
the thing and the feeling are to be bound together; in the symbolical 

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action the eating and drinking and the sense of being one in Jesus 
are to run into one another. But thing and feeling, spirit and real- 
ity, do not mix. Fancy cannot bring them together in a beautiful 
image. The bread and wine, seen and enjoyed, can never rouse the 
feeling of love; this feeling can never be found in them as seen ob- 
jects since there is a contradiction between it and the sensation of 
actually absorbing the food and drink, of their becoming subjective. 
There are always two things there, the faith and the thing, the de- 
votion and the seeing or tasting. To faith it is the spirit which is 
present; to seeing and tasting, the bread and wine. There is no uni- 
fication for the two. The intellect contradicts feeling, and vice 
versa. There is nothing for imagination (in which intellect and 
feeling are both present and yet canceled) to do; here it cannot pro- 
vide any image in which seeing and feeling would be unified. In an 
Apollo or a Venus we must forget the marble, the breakable stone, 
and see in its shape the immortal only. In looking at the shape, we 
are permeated with the sense of love and eternal youth. But grind 
the Apollo or the Venus to dust and say "This is Apollo, this 
Venus," and then the dust confronts you and the images of the im- 
mortals are in you, but the dust and the divine never coalesce into 
one. The merit of the dust lay in its form, and the form has gone, 
while the dust is now the chief thing. The merit of the bread lay 
in its mystical significance, and yet at the same time in its property 
as bread, something edible; (301) even in the act of worship it has 
to be present as bread. When the Apollo is ground to dust, devotion 
remains, but it cannot turn and worship the dust. The dust can re- 
mind us of the devotion, but it cannot draw devotion to itself. A 
regret arises, and this is the sensing of this separation, this contra- 
diction, like the sadness accompanying the idea of living forces and 
the incompatibility between them and the corpse. After the supper 
the disciples began to be sorrowful because of the impending loss of 
their master, but after a genuinely religious action the whole soul 
is at peace. And, after enjoying the supper, Christians today feel a 
reverent wonder either without serenity or else with a melancholy 
serenity, because feeling's intensity was separate from the intellect 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

and both were one-sided, because worship was incomplete, since 
something divine was promised and it melted away in the mouth. 

[ iv. THE RELIGIOUS TEACHING OF JESUS] 
(302) It is of the greatest interest to see how and with what 
teaching Jesus directly confronts (a) the principle of subjection and 
(b) the infinite Sovereign Lord of the Jews. Here, at the center of 
their spirit, the battle must have been in its most stubborn phase, 
since to attack one thing here was to attack their all. The attack on 
single offshoots of the Jewish spirit affects its underlying principle 
too, although there is as yet no consciousness that this principle is 
attacked. There is no embitterment until there is a growing feeling 
that at the roots of a struggle about a single point there lies a con- 
flict of principles. Jesus was opposed to the Jews on the question of 
their Most High; and this opposition was soon put into words on 
both sides. 

To the Jewish idea of God as their Lord and Governor, Jesus 
opposes a relationship of God to men like that of a father to his 
children. 

Morality cancels domination within the sphere of consciousness ; 70 
love cancels the barriers in the sphere of morality; but love itself 
is still incomplete in nature. 71 In the moments of happy love there is 
no room for objectivity; yet every reflection annuls love, restores 
objectivity again, and with objectivity we are once more on the 
territory of restrictions. What is religious, then, is the 7rXi7pcojua 
[''fulfilment"] of love; it is reflection and love united, bound to- 
gether in thought. Love's intuition seems to fulfil the demand for 
completeness; but there is a contradiction. Intuition, representa- 
tive thinking, is something restrictive, something receptive only of 
something restricted; but here the object intuited [God] would be 
something infinite. The infinite cannot be carried in this vessel. 

70. [I.e., Kantian morality substitutes reverence of a moral law within man's 
consciousness for fear of a dominant overlord outside him, though reason's law 
cramps part of man's nature instead of fulfilling it.] 

71. [Hegel added here, but afterward deleted, the words: "Love may be 
happy or unhappy."] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

To conceive of pure life 72 means trying to abstract from every 
deed, from everything which the man was or will be. Character 
is an abstraction from activity alone; it means the universal behind 
specific actions. Consciousness of pure life would be consciousness 
of what the man is, and in it there is no differentiation and no de- 
veloped or actualized multiplicity. This simplicity is not a negative 
simplicity, a unity (303) produced by abstraction (since in such a 
unity either we have simply the positing of one determinate thing in 
abstraction from all other determinacies, or else its pure unity is 
only the negatively indeterminate, i.e., the posited demand for ab- 
straction from everything determinate. Pure life is being) , 73 Plural- 
ity is nothing absolute. This pure life is the source of all separate 
lives, impulses, and deeds. But if it comes into consciousness as a 
belief in life, it is then living in the believer and yet is to some ex- 
tent posited outside him. Since, in thus becoming conscious of it, he 
is restricted, his consciousness and the infinite cannot be completely 
in one. Man can believe in a God only by being able to abstract from 
every deed, from everything determinate, while at the same time 
simply clinging fast to the soul of every deed and everything deter- 
minate. In anything soulless and spiritless there can be nothing di- 
vine. If a man always feels himself determined, always doing or suf- 
fering this or that, acting in this way or that, then what has thus 
been abstracted and delimited has not been cut off from the spirit; on 
the contrary, what remains permanent for him behind these passing 
details is only the opposite of life, namely, the dominant universal. 74 

72. [". ... or pure self-consciousness," as Hegel first wrote and then de- 
leted.] 

73. [I.e., is positive, not negative; is reality, not a demand; is not a deter- 
minate thing, but is positively indeterminate.] 

74. [The meaning of this obscure passage seems to be as follows : Morality 
is a spirit uniting determinate moral actions into a living whole. The man who 
is conscious only of specific actions and limited obligations has not severed 
these from their abiding spirit, because he is not conscious of that spirit. What 
he has done is to distinguish particular passing duties from the permanent uni- 
versal law or overlord which compels his obedience. In other words, he is not 
on the plane of spiritual morality or religion at all; he is still at the level of 
bondage to an overlord.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

The whole field of determinacy falls away, and beyond this con- 
sciousness of determinacies there is only the empty unity of the 
totality of objects as the essence dominating determinacies. To this 
infinite field of lordship and bondage there can be opposed only the 
pure sensing of life which has in itself its justification and its au- 
thority. But by appearing as an opposite, it appears as something 
determinate in a determinate man [Jesus] who cannot give an in- 
tuition of purity to profane eyes bound to mundane realities. In the 
determinate situation in which he appears, the man can appeal only 
to his origin, to the source from which every shape of restricted 
life flows to him; he cannot appeal to the whole, which he now is, 
as to an absolute. He must call on something higher, on the Father 
who lives immutable in all mutability. 

Since the divine is pure life, (304) anything and everything said 
of it must be free from any [implication of] opposition. And all re- 
flection's expressions about the relations of the objective being or 
about that being's activity in (305) objective action must be 
avoided, since the activity of the divine is only a unification of spir- 
its. Only spirit grasps and embraces spirit in itself. Expressions such 
as u command, teach, learn, see, recognize, make, will, come into 
the Kingdom of Heaven, go," express the relations of an objective 
being to us only if spirit is receiving something objective to it. 76 
Hence it is only in inspired terms that the divine can [properly] be 
spoken of. Jewish culture reveals a consciousness of only one group 
of living relationships, and even these in the form of concepts rather 
than of virtues and qualities of character. This is all the more natu- 
ral in that the Jews had to express, in the main, only relations be- 
tween strangers, beings different in essence, e.g., compassion, boun- 
ty, etc. John is the Evangelist who has the most to say about God 
and the bond between God and Jesus. But the Jewish culture, which 
was so poor in spiritual relationships, forced him to avail himself of 
objective ties and matter-of-fact phraseology for expressing the 
highest spiritual realities, and this language thus often sounds harsh- 

75. [I.e., only if God is conceived objectively, and if his commands, for ex- 
ample, arc treated as simply objective and positive.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

er than when (306) feelings are supposed to be expressed in the 
parallelistic style. 76 "The Kingdom of Heaven; entry into the King- 
dom; I am the door; I am the true bread, who eats my flesh/' etc. 
into such matter-of-fact and everday ties is the spiritual forced. 

The state of Jewish culture cannot be called 77 the state of child- 
hood, nor can its phraseology be called an undeveloped, childlike 
phraseology. There are a few deep, childlike, tones retained in it, or 
rather reintroduced into it, but the remainder, with its forced and 
difficult mode of expression, is rather a consequence of the supreme 
miseducation of the people. A purer being has to fight against this 
mode of speaking, and he suffers under it when he has to reveal 
himself in forms of that kind; and he cannot dispense with them, 
since he himself belongs to this people. 

The beginning of John's Gospel contains a series of propositional 
sentences which speak of God and the divine in more appropriate 
phraseology. It is to use the simplest form of reflective phraseology 
to say: "In the beginning 'was the Logos; the Logos 'was 'with God, 
and God 'was the Logos; in him was life." But these sentences have 
only the deceptive semblance of judgments, for the predicates are 
not concepts, not universals like those necessarily contained in 
judgments expressing reflection. On the contrary, the predicates arc 
themselves once more something being and living. Even this simple 
form of reflection is not adapted to the spiritual expression of spirit. 
Nowhere more than in the communication of the divine is it neces- 
sary for the recipient to grasp the communication with the depths of 
his own spirit. Nowhere is it less possible to learn, to assimilate 
passively, because everything expressed about the divine in the lan- 
guage of reflection is eo if so contradictory; and the passive spirit- 
less assimilation of such an expression not only leaves the deeper 
spirit empty but also distracts the intellect which assimilates it 
and for which it is a contradiction. This always objective language 
hence attains sense and weight only in the spirit of the reader and to 
an extent which differs with the degree to which the relationships of 

76. [Wechsel-Stil. The meaning is doubtful.] 

77. [As it is by Lessing in his Education of the Human Race, 16, 20, 48.] 

[256] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

life and the opposition of life and death have come into his con- 
sciousness. 

Of the two extreme methods of interpreting John's exordium, the 
most objective is to take the Logos as something actual, an individ- 
ual; the most subjective is to take it as reason; in the former case as 
a particular, in the latter as universality; in the former, as the most 
single and exclusive reality, in the latter as a mere ens rationis 
God and the Logos become distinct because Being must be taken 
from a double point of view [by reflection], since reflection sup- 
poses that that to which it gives a reflected form is at the same 
time not reflected; i.e., it takes Being (i) to be the single in which 
there is no partition or opposition, and (ii) at the same time to be 
the single which is potentially separable and infinitely divisible 
into parts. 79 (307) God and the Logos are only different in that 

78. [Hegel is arguing that the living relationship between God, Jesus, and 
men can be apprehended in spirit, but this creates difficulties for the intellect, 
because by analysis, the essential activity of the intellect, the living bond be- 
tween the related terms is destroyed. If the exordium of John's Gospel is 
taken quite literally, or in an intellectualistic way, then insoluble contradic- 
tions arise, because the Logos is sometimes described as an individual and 
sometimes as universal reason. Hence two opposed intellectualistic inter- 
pretations of the passage become possible. Hegel accepts neither. He takes 
John's statements, expressed as they are in the simplest language of which 
reflective thought is capable, and tries to interpret their spirit. His exegesis 
is based throughout on the Greek text and is not intelligible without a study 
of that text. It gives rise to several textual and exegetical questions, but these 
cannot be discussed here.] 

79. [The essentially analytic character of reflective thinking forces it to 
look on Being or reality from two points of view. For example, it distinguishes 
between an object in its immediacy and the same object as reflected, or mediated 
by reflection. Hence arises the application to the object of opposed categories 
such as one and many, whole and parts, form and matter. Thus, for reflection, 
God and the Logos, which really are one life, become different as different as- 
pects of one whole; and men, God's creatures, who once again really share in 
the life of God, are taken to be parts in the whole. Now since, for reflection, a 
whole, though from one point of view a single unity, is from another potentially 
infinitely divisible, the process of creation is described in reflective phraseology 
as the actualization of this potential divisibility. This process is the work of the 
Logos and is thus dcscribable as the self-partitioning of the Logos, or as its self- 
diflerentiation. The one life of the Logos and God is partitioned or differenti- 
ated ad infmitum into the individuals who share that life in the same sort of way 
in which the tree partitions itself by putting forth branches which share in 
its life.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

God is matter in the form of the Logos : the Logos itself is with 
God; both are one. The multiplicity, the infinity, of the real is the 
infinite divisibility realized: by the Logos all things are made; the 
world is not an emanation of the Deity, or otherwise the real would 
be through and through divine. Yet, as real, it is an emanation, a part 
of the infinite partitioning, though in the part (iv avr$ is better 
taken with the immediately preceding ovdl Iv 8 ytyovtv), or in the 
one who partitions ad infinitum (if iv aur< is taken as referring to 
Xi^os), there is life. The single entity, the restricted entity, as 
something opposed [to life], something dead, is yet a branch of the 
infinite tree of life. Each part, to which the whole is external, is yet 
a whole, a life. And this life, once again as something reflected 
upon, as divided by reflection into the relation of subject and predi- 
cate, is life ("0)17) and life understood (<>$ [light], truth). These 
finite entities have opposites; the opposite of light is darkness. 
John the Baptist was not the light; he only bore witness of it; he 
had a sense of the one whole, but it came home to his consciousness 
not in its purity but only in a restricted way, in specific relations. 
He believed in it, but his consciousness was not equivalent to life. 
Only a consciousness which is equivalent to life is <cos, and in it 
consciousness and life differ only in that the latter is being, while 
the former is being as reflected upon. Though John was not himself 
the 0cSs, yet it was in every man who comes into the world of men 
(KOCTJUOS means the whole of human relationships and human life, 
i.e., something more restricted than irapra and 6 yeyovev, verse 3). 
It is not simply a case of a man's being #omf6/ij'os [lighted] by 
his entry into the world; the <$ is also in the world itself. The 
world itself and all its relationships and events are entirely the work 
of the avBponros [man] who is $<3s, of the man who is self-develop- 
ing; but the world in which these relations are alive did not 
recognize that the whole of nature was coming into self-conscious- 
ness in him. Nature now coming to self-consciousness was in the 
world but it did not enter the consciousness of the world. 80 The 

80. [I.e., the world of men did not recognize that Jesus was "Nature be- 
coming conscious of itself/' i.e., was the Logos.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

world of men is his very own (t8wv), is most akin to him, and men 
do not receive him but treat him as a stranger. But those who do 
recognize themselves in him acquire power thereby; "power" 
means not a living principle [acquired for the first time] or a new 
force, but only a degree of life, a similarity or dissimilarity of life. 
They do not become other than they were, but they know God and 
recognize themselves as children of God, as weaker than he, yet of 
a like nature in so far as they have become conscious of that spiritual 
relation suggested by his name (8^o/ia) 81 as the avdp&iros who is 
<cori"6juej>os 0om a\r)divy [lighted by the true light]. They find 
their essence in no stranger, but in God. 

Up to this point we have heard only of the truth itself and of 
man in general terms. In verse 14 the Logos 82 appears modified 
as an individual, in which form also he has revealed himself to us 
(avOpwjros epx6/jtez>os els rbv Koapov there is nothing else for the 
avrbv of vss. 10 ff. (308) to refer to). 83 John bore witness, not of 
the <<s alone (verse 7), but also of the individual (verse 15). 

However sublime the idea of God may be made here, there yet 
always remains the Jewish principle of opposing thought to re- 
ality, reason to sense; this principle involves the rending of life 
and a lifeless connection between God and the world, though the 
tie between these must be taken to be a living connection; and, 
where such a connection is in question, ties between the related 
terms can be expressed only in mystical phraseology. 

The most commonly cited and the most striking expression of 

8 1 . ["Those who believe in his name." Hegel interprets this as meaning that 
the man who believes in the true light is conscious of himself as lighted thereby, 
and of his essence as thus sharing in the light which is the life of God or the 
truth. For the interpretation of flyo/ua, "name," see pp. 273-74 below and the 
notes there.] 

82. ["The word was made flesh and dwelt among us."] 

83. [In vs. 10 ("the world knew him not") the Greek word translated 
"him" is masculine, while the Greek word for "Light" is neuter. Hegel as- 
sumes that the "him" of vs. 10 must refer to the "man coming into the world" 
of vs. 9. "The Light" has become personalized, however, in vss. 7-9, and this 
is probably now made explicit by the use of "him," which must refer to the 
Light.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Jesus' relation to God is his calling himself the "son of God" and 
contrasting himself as son of God with himself as the "son of 
man." The designation of this relation is one of the few natural ex- 
pressions left by accident in the Jewish speech of that time, and 
therefore it is to be counted among their happy expressions. The 
relation of a son to his father is not a conceptual unity (as, for in- 
stance, unity or harmony of disposition, similarity of principles, 
etc.), a unity which is only a unity in thought and is abstracted 
from life. On the contrary, it is a living relation of living beings, a 
likeness of life. Father and son are simply modifications of the same 
life, not opposite essences, not a plurality of absolute substantial- 
ities. Thus the son of God is the same essence as the father, and 
yet for every act of reflective thinking, though only for such think- 
ing, he is a separate essence. Even in the expression "A son of the 
stem of Koresh," for example, which the Arabs use to denote the in- 
dividual, a single member of the clan, there is the implication that 
this individual is not simply a part of the whole; the whole does not 
lie outside him; he himself is just the whole which the entire clan 
is. This is clear too from the sequel to the manner of waging war 
peculiar to such a natural, undivided, people : every single individ- 
ual is put to the sword in the most cruel fashion. In modern Europe, 
on the other hand, where each individual does not carry the whole 
state in himself, but where the bond is only the conceptual one of 
the same rights for all, war is waged not against the individual, but 
against the whole which lies outside him. As with any genuinely 
free people, so among the Arabs, the individual is a part and at the 
same time the whole. It is true only of objects, of things lifeless, 
that the whole is other than the parts; in the living thing, on the 
other hand, the part of the whole is one and the same as the whole. 
If particular objects, as substances, are linked together while each 
of them yet retains its character as an individual (as numerically 
one), 84 then their common characteristic, their unity, is only a 
concept, not an essence, not something being. Living things, 

84. [This seems to be a reference to the Doctrine of the Trinity and a sug- 
gestion of its inadequacy. Cf. p. 161 above.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

however, are essences, even if they are separate, and their unity is 
still a unity of essence. What is a contradiction in the realm of the 
dead is not (309) one in the realm of life. 

A tree which has three branches makes up with them one tree; 
but every "son" of the tree, every branch (and also its other "chil- 
dren," leaves and blossoms) is itself a tree. The fibers bringing sap 
to the branch from the stem are of the same nature as the roots. If 
a [cutting from certain types of] tree is set in the ground upside 
down it will put forth leaves out of the roots in the air, and the 
boughs will root themselves in the ground. And it is just as true to 
say that there is only one tree here as to say that there are three. 

This unity of essence between father and son in the Godhead 
was discovered even by the Jews in the relation to God which Jesus 
ascribed to himself (John v. 18) : u He makes himself equal with 
God in that he calls God his father." To the Jewish principle of 
God's domination Jesus could oppose the needs of man (just as he 
had set the need to satisfy hunger over against the festival of the 
Sabbath) , but even this he could do only in general terms. The deep- 
er development of this contrast, e.g., [the discovery of] a primacy 
of the practical reason, was absent from the culture of those times. 
In his opposition [to Judaism] he stood before their eyes only as an 
individual. In order to remove the thought of this individuality, 
Jesus continually appealed, especially in John, to his oneness with 
God, who has granted to the son to have life in himself, just as the 
father has life in himself. He and the father are one; he is bread 
come down from heaven, and so forth. These are hard words 
((TKArjpol X67ot), and they are not softened by being interpreted as 
imagery or misinterpreted as the uniting of concepts instead of be- 
ing taken spiritually as life. Of course, as soon as intellectual con- 
cepts are opposed to imagery and taken as dominant, every image 
must be set aside as only play, as a by-product of the imagination 
and without truth; and, instead of the life of the image, nothing re- 
mains but objects. 

But Jesus calls himself not only son of God but also son of man. 
If "son of God" expressed a modification of the divine, so "son of 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

man" would be a modification of man. But man is not one nature, 
one essence, like the Godhead; it is a concept, an ens rationis. And 
"son of man" means here "something subsumed under the concept 
of man." "Jesus is man" is a judgment proper; the predicate is not 
a living essence but a universal (cu>0pa>7ros, man; vlos avBp&irov [son 
of man], a man). The son of God is also son of man; the divine in a 
particular shape appears as a man. The connection of infinite and 
finite is of course (310) a "holy mystery," 85 because this connec- 
tion is life itself. Reflective thinking, which partitions life, can dis- 
tinguish it into infinite and finite, and then it is only the restriction, 
the finite regarded by itself, which affords the concept of man as 
opposed to the divine. But outside reflective thinking, and in truth, 
there is no such restriction. This meaning of the "son of man" 
comes out most clearly when the "son of man" is set over against 
the "son of God," e.g., (John v. 26-27), "For as the father hath 
life in himself, so hath he given to the son to have life in himself, 
and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he 
is the son of man." Again (v. 22), "The father judgeth no man, he 
hath committed all judgment unto the son." On the other hand, we 
read (John iii. 17; Matthew xviii. 11), "God sent not his son into 
the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him 
might be saved." Judgment is not an act of the divine, for the law, 
which is in the judge, is the universal opposed to the man who is to 
be judged, and judgment (in law) is a judgment (in logic), an asser- 
tion of likeness or unlikeness, the recognition of a conceptual unity 
or an irreconcilable opposition. The son of God does not judge, 
sunder, or divide, does not hold to an opposite in its opposition. An 
utterance, or the stirring, of the divine is no lawgiving or legislation, 
no upholding of the mastery of the law. On the contrary, the world 
is to be saved by the divine, and even "save" is a word improperly 
used of the spirit, for it denotes the absolute impotence, in face of 
danger, of the man on its brink, and to that extent salvation is the 

85. [As Nohl indicates i n a footnote, Hegel is quoting and criticizing 
Kant. See the "General Remark" appended to Part III of his Religion 'within 
the Bounds of Reason Alone.} 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

action of a stranger to a stranger. And the operation of the divine 
may be called "salvation" only in so far as the man saved was a 
stranger, not to his essence, but only to his previous plight. 

The father judges not, nor does the son (who has life in himself) 
in so far as he is one with the father; but at the same time he has re- 
ceived authority, and the power to pass judgment, because he is 
the son of man. The reason for this is that the modification is, as a 
modification, something restricted, and this restriction makes pos- 
sible an opposition [between the law and the man to be judged], 
makes possible a separation between universal and particular. 
Materially, there can be a comparison between him and others in 
respect of force and so of authority, while on the formal side (i) the 
activity of comparing, (ii) the concept, i.e., the law, and (iii) the 
cleavage between the law and the individual or its connection with 
him, hold court and pass judgment. Yet at the same time the man 
could not judge if he were not divine; for only if he were can the 
criterion of judgment be in him, can the cleavage be possible. His 
power to bind and to loose is grounded in the divine. 86 

Judgment itself (311) may be of two kinds, the domination of 
the nondivine either in idea alone or else in reality. Jesus says (John 
iii. 18-19) : "He that believeth on the son of God is not condemned, 
but he that believeth not is condemned already" because he has not 
recognized this relation of the man [Jesus] to God, has not recog- 
nized his divinity. And "this is the condemnation, that men loved 
darkness rather than light." In their unbelief, then, lay their very 
condemnation. The divine man does not approach evil as a power 
dominating and subduing it, since the divine son of man has received 

86. [Perhaps the meaning of this perplexing passage is as follows: The 
judge is the mouthpiece of the law. His judgment is a comparison between this 
law, a universal or a concept, and the man to be judged, the particular. In the 
judgment the particular is brought under the universal and is judged to accord 
or to be at variance with it. Here there are two oppositions : the first is between 
the judge and the man; the second is between the man and the law. The judge is 
a man like the other, but his authority and power as judge place him above the 
other as well as in opposition to him; and this fact Hegel expresses by using 
the distinction between form and matter: materially, the judge is a man (though 
his power makes a cleavage between him and the other), but his formal or uni- 
versal aspect is the law whose mouthpiece he is.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

authority but not power [in this field] . It is not in the field of reality 
[as opposed to ideas] that he deals with the world and fights it. He 
docs not bring its condemnation to it in the shape of consciousness of 
a punishment. What cannot live with him, what cannot enjoy with 
him, what has sundered itself and stands separated from him, has 
set up limits for itself which he recognizes as sundering restrictions, 
even if they be the world's highest pride and are not felt by the 
world as restrictions, even if the world's suffering has not for it the 
form of suffering, or at least not the form of the retroactive suffer- 
ing inflicted by a law. But it is the world's unbelief which degrades 
it to a lower sphere and is its own condemnation, even if it flatter it- 
self in its unconsciousness of the divine, in its degradation. 

The relation of Jesus to God, as the relation of a son to his father, 
could be apprehended as a piece of knowledge or alternatively by 
faith, according as man puts the divine wholly outside himself or 
not. Knowledge posits, for its way of taking this relation, two na- 
tures of different kinds, a human nature and a divine one, a human 
essence and a divine one, each with personality and substantiality, 
and, whatever their relation, both remaining two because they are 
posited as absolutely different. Those who posit this absolute dif- 
ference and yet still require us to think of these absolutes as one in 
their inmost relationship do not dismiss the intellect on the ground 
that they are asserting a truth outside its scope. On the contrary, 
it is the intellect which they expect to grasp absolutely different 
substances which at the same time arc an absolute unity. Thus they 
destroy the intellect in positing it. Those who (i) accept the given 
difference of the substantialities but (ii) deny their unity are more 
logical. They are justified in (i), since it is required to think God 
and man, and therefore in (ii), since to cancel the cleavage between 
God and man would be contrary to the first admission they were re- 
quired to make. In this way they save the intellect; but when they 
refuse to move beyond this absolute difference of essences, then 
they elevate the intellect, absolute division, destruction of life, to 
the pinnacle of spirit. It was from this intellectualistic point of view 
that the Jews took what Jesus said. 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

(312) When Jesus said, "The father is in me and I in the father; 
who has seen me has seen the father; who knows the father knows 
that what I say is true; I and the father are one," the Jews accused 
him of blasphemy because though born a man he made himself 
God. How were they to recognize divinity in a man, poor things 
that they were, possessing only a consciousness of their misery, of 
the depth of their servitude, of their opposition to the divine, of an 
impassable gulf between the being of God and the being of men? 
Spirit alone recognizes spirit. They saw in Jesus only the man, the 
Nazarene, the carpenter's son whose brothers and kinsfolk lived 
among them; so much he was, and more he could not be, for he was 
only one like themselves, and they felt themselves to be nothing. 
The Jewish multitude was bound to wreck his attempt to give them 
the consciousness of something divine, for faith in something divine, 
something great, cannot make its home in a dunghill. The lion has 
no room in a nest, the infinite spirit none in the prison of a Jewish 
soul, the whole of life none in a withering leaf. The hill and the eye 
which sees it are object and subject, but between man and God, 
between spirit and spirit, there is no such cleft of objectivity and 
subjectivity; one is to the other an other only in that one recognizes 
the other; both are one. 

One element in taking the relation of son to father objectively 
[instead of spiritually], or rather the consequence which this inter- 
pretation has for the will, is (a) the discovery of a connection be- 
tween ourselves and God in the connection between the separate 
human and divine natures thus conceived and reverenced in Jesus, 
and (b) the hope for a love between two total dissimilars, a love of 
God for man which might at best be a form of sympathy. Jesus' 
relation to God, as the relation of son to father, is a child's relation, 
since in essence, in spirit, the son feels himself one with the father 
who lives in him. This has no resemblance to that child's relation 
in which a man might put himself with the rich overlord of the 
world whose life he feels wholly alien to him and with whom he 
connects himself only through presents showered on him, only 
through the crumbs falling from the rich man's table. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

The essence of Jesus, i.e., his relationship to God as son to 
father, can be truly grasped only by faith; and faith in himself is 
what Jesus demanded of his people. This faith is characterized 
(313) by its object [Gfgeiistand], the divine. Faith in a mundane 
reality is an acquaintance with some kind of object [Objekt], of 
something restricted. And just as an object [Objekt] is other than 
God, so this acquaintance is different from faith in the divine. 87 
"God is spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spir- 
it and in truth. " How could anything but a spirit know a spirit? The 
relation of spirit to spirit is a feeling of harmony, is their unifica- 
tion; how could heterogeneity be unified? Faith in the divine is only 
possible if in the believer himself there is a divine element which 
rediscovers itself, its own nature, in that on which it believes, even 
if it be unconscious that what it has found is its own nature. In 
every man there is light and life; he is the property of the light. He 
is not illumined by a light in the way in which a dark body is when 
it borrows a brightness not its own; on the contrary, his own in- 
flammability takes fire and he burns with a flame that is his own. 
The middle state between darkness (remoteness from the divine, 
imprisonment in the mundane) and a wholly divine life of one's 
own, a trust in one's self, is faith in the divine. It is the inkling, the 
knowledge, of the divine, the longing for union with God, the de- 
sire for a divine life. But it lacks the strength of [that state of mind 
which results when] divinity has pervaded all the threads of one's 
consciousness, directed all one's relations with the world, and now 
breathes throughout one's being. Hence faith in the divine grows 
out of the divinity of the believer's own nature; only a modification 
of the Godhead can know the Godhead. 

When Jesus asked his disciples [Matthew xvi. 13] : "Whom do 
men say that I, the son of man, am?" his friends recounted the 
opinions of the Jews who even in transfiguring him, setting him be- 
yond the reality of the human world, still could not go beyond that 

87. [God is the object (Gegenstand) of faith, i.e., he it is in whom we be- 
lieve. But he is not an object (Objekt) as distinct from a subject, because he is 
spirit or a living consciousness.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

reality, still saw in him only an individual, though the individuality 
they gave him was ascribed to him in a nonnatural way. But when 
Peter had expressed his faith in the son of man, his recognition of 
the son of God in the son of man, Jesus called him blessed : "Blessed 
art thou Simon; for other men thou art the son of Jona, but thou 
art the son of man, since the father in Heaven hath revealed this 
unto thee." No revelation is required for the mere apprehension of 
the divine nature; a great part of Christendom learns to apprehend 
this. Children are taught to infer from miracles, etc., that Jesus 
is God. Learning like this, the [intellectual] reception of this faith, 
cannot be called a divine revelation; command and the cane will 
produce it. "My father in Heaven hath revealed this to thee/' i.e., 
the divine in thee hath recognized my divinity; thou hast un- 
derstood my essence; it has re-echoed in thine. (314) The man who 
passed among men as Simon, son of Jona, Jesus made Peter, the 
rock on which his community was to be founded. He gave him 
his own power of binding and loosing, a power which can be 
granted only to a nature which carries in itself the divine in its 
purity, for it is a power of recognizing any departure from the 
divine. There is now no judgment in Heaven differing from thine; 
what thou seest as bound or free on earth is likewise so in the eyes 
of Heaven. Now for the first time Jesus ventures to speak to his 
disciples of his impending fate; but Peter's consciousness of the 
divinity of his teacher at once assumes the character of faith only; 
the faith which senses the divine but is not yet a filling of his whole 
being with the divine, not yet a reception of the Holy Spirit. 

There frequently recurs the idea of ascribing to God's agency the 
faith which Jesus' friends have in him. Jesus often, particularly in 
John xvii, calls them those "given him by God." Cf. John vi. 29, 
where belief in him is called a "work of God," something effected 
by the divine. The effective working of the divine is totally dif- 
ferent from learning and being instructed. See also John vi. 65 : "No 
man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my father." 

This faith, however, is only the first stage in the relationship 
with Jesus. In its culmination this relationship is conceived so in- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

timately that his friends are one with him. See John xii. 36: "Un- 
til 88 ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of 
light." Between those who only have faith in the light and those who 
are the children of light, there is a difference similar to that be- 
tween John the Baptist, who only bore witness of the light, and 
Jesus, the light individualized in a man. Just as Jesus has eternal 
life in himself, so too those who believe in him shall attain ever- 
lasting life (John vi. 40). The living association with Jesus is most 
clearly expounded in John's account of his final discourse: They in 
him and he in them; they together one; he the vine, they the 
branches; in the parts the same nature, a life like the life in the 
whole. It is this culminating relationship which Jesus prays his 
father to grant to his friends and which he promises them when 
he shall be removed from them. So long as he lived among them, 
they remained believers only, for they were not self-dependent. 
Jesus was their teacher and master, an individual center on which 
they depended. They had not yet attained an independent life of 
their own. The spirit of Jesus ruled them, but after his removal 
even this objectivity, 89 this partition between them and God, fell 
away, and the spirit of God could then animate their whole being. 
When Jesus says (John vii. 38-39) (315): "He that believeth on 
me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of life," John remarks that this 
was spoken of the thorough animation by the Holy Ghost which 
was still to come; they had not yet received the spirit because Jesus 
was not yet glorified. 

All thought of a difference in essence between Jesus and those 
in whom faith in him has become life, in whom the divine is pres- 
ent, must be eliminated. When Jesus speaks of himself so often 
as of a pre-eminent nature, this is to contrast himself with the 
Jews. From them he separates himself and thereby his divinity 
also acquires an individual form [a uniqueness peculiar to him- 
self]. "I am the truth and the life; he who believes on me" this 
uniform and constant emphasis on the "I" in John's Gospel is a 

88. [See above, n. 63, p. 240.] 

89. [I.e., the objectivity implied in the relation of ruler and ruled.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

separation of his personality from the Jewish character, but how- 
ever vigorously he makes himself an individual in contrast with 
the Jewish spirit, he equally vigorously annuls all divine personality, 
divine individuality, in talking to his friends; with them he will 
simply be one, and they in him are to be one. 90 John says (ii. 25) of 
Jesus that he knew what was in man; and the truest mirror of his 
beautiful faith in nature is his discourse at the sight of uncorrupted 
beings (Matthew xviii. 1 ff.) : If ye do not become as little children, 
ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is the most 
childlike is the greatest in heaven. Whoso shall receive one such 
little child in my name receiveth me. Whoever is capable of sensing 
in the child the child's pure life, of recognizing the holiness of the 
child's nature, has sensed my essence. Whoso shall sully this holy 
purity, it were better for him that a millstone were hung round his 
neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Oh! the 
grievous necessity of such violations of the holy! The deepest, 
holiest, sorrow of a beautiful soul, its most incomprehensible rid- 
dle, is that its nature has to be disrupted, its holiness sullied. Just 
as for the intellect the most incomprehensible thing is the divine 
and unity with God, so for the noble heart is alienation from God. 
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto 
you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my 
father in heaven. 

By the "angels" of the children we are not to understand "ob- 
jective beings," since (to give an argumentum ad homincm) the 
angels of the rest of mankind would then also have to be thought of 
as living in the sight of God. In "the angels' sight of God" much is 
very happily unified: Unconsciousness, undeveloped unity [with 
God], being and life in God, 91 are here severed from God because 

90. [Hegel is arguing that when Jesus seemed to claim to be an individual 
with special characteristics of his own, not shared by other individuals, he was 
contrasting himself with the Jews, from whom he did claim to be distinct in 
spirit. So too the divinity which Jesus claimed was not peculiar to himself, a 
unique individuality of his own; all the children of God could be animated by 
the Holy Spirit and share in the divine life.] 

91. [See below, the paragraph beginning "The culmination of faith," p. 
273.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

they are supposed to be represented, as modifications of divinity, in 
existing children; 92 yet the being and doing of the angels is an eter- 
nal sight of God. In order to exhibit spirit, the divine, outside its 
restriction, and the community of the restricted (316) with the 
living one, Plato separates the entity which is pure life from the re- 
stricted entity by a difference of time. He allows pure spirits to 
have lived wholly in the sight of the divine and to be the same in 
their later life on earth, except that there they have only a darkened 
consciousness of that heavenly vision. 93 In a different way Jesus 
here separates the nature, the divinity, of spirit from the restriction 
and unites them. As an angel, the childlike spirit is represented not 
simply as in God without all reality, without existence of its own, 
but as at the same time a son of God, a particular. The opposition of 
seer and seen, i.e., of subject and object, disappears in the seeing it- 
self. Their difference is only a possibility of separation. A man 
wholly immersed in seeing the sun would be only a feeling of light, 
would be light-feeling become an entity. A man who lived entirely 
in beholding another would be this other entirely, would be merely 
possessed of the possibility of becoming different from him. But 
what is lost, what has severed itself, is re-won through the return 
to unity, to becoming as children. But what repudiates this reunifi- 
cation and sets itself firmly against it has cut itself off; let him be 
to you a stranger with whom you have nothing in common. If you 
break off companionship with him, then what you declare to be 
binding on him in his isolation shall be binding also in heaven. But 
what you loose, declare to be free and therefore unified, is free in 
heaven too, is one there, does not merely behold the Godhead. 

Jesus explains this unity in another way (Matthew xviii. 19) : 
"If two or three of you shall agree as touching anything that ye 
shall ask, it shall be done for you of my father." The expressions 
"ask" and "vouchsafe" are relative strictly to a unification in re- 
spect of objects (7rpd7/iara [things]); it was only for a unification 

92. [I.e., in angels who are often pictorially represented as children.] 

93. [Hegel is probably thinking of the myth at the end of the Republic, or 
of the myth in the Phaedrus.] 

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of this kind that the matter-of-fact language of the Jews had words. 
But here the object in question can be nothing but the reflected 
unity (the <Tvjji(t>Mvia r&v 8volv fj rpi&v [agreement of two or three]) ; 
regarded as an object, this is a beautiful relationship, but sub- 
jectively it is unification; spirits cannot be one in objects proper. 
The beautiful relationship, a unity of two or three of you, is 
repeated in the harmony of the whole, is a sound, a concord with 
the same harmony and is produced thereby. It is because it is in the 
harmony, because it is something divine. In this association with 
the divine, those who are at one are also in association with Jesus. 
Where two or three are united in my spirit (els TO 6vofj,a juou [into 
my name], 94 cf. Matthew x. 41), in that respect in which being and 
eternal life fall to my lot, in which I am, then I am in the midst of 
them, and so is my spirit. 

Thus specifically docs Jesus declare himself against personality, 
against the view that his essence possessed an individuality opposed 
to that of those who had attained the culmination of friendship with 
him (against the thought of a personal God), 95 for the ground of 
such an individuality would be an absolute particularity of his being 
in opposition to theirs. A remark about the unity of lovers is also 
relevant here (Matthew xix. 5-6) (317): Man and wife, these 
twain, become one, so that they are no longer two. What therefore 
God hath joined, let no man put asunder. If this "joining'* were sup- 
posed to have reference solely to the original designation of the 
man and the woman for one another, this reason would not suffice 
against divorce, since divorce would not cancel that designation, 
that conceptual unification; it would remain even if a living link were 
disrupted. It is a living link that is said to be something divine, ef- 
fected by God's agency. 

Since Jesus gave battle to the entire genius of his people and had 
altogether broken with his world, the completion of his fate could 
be nothing save suppression by the hostile genius of his people. 

94. [See below, nn. 96 and 97, pp. 273-74.] 

95. [I.e., a God who is a person exclusive of other persons and set over 
against them.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

The glorification of the son of man in this downfall is not negative 
(does not consist in a renunciation of all his relations with the 
world) but positive (his nature has forgone the unnatural world, 
has preferred to save it in battle and defeat rather than conscious- 
ly submit to its corruption or else unconsciously and increasingly 
succumb to corruption's stealthy advance). Jesus was conscious 
that it was necessary for his individual self to perish, and he tried 
to convince his disciples also of this necessity. But they could not 
separate his essence from his person; they were still only bo 
lievers.When Peter recognized the divine in the son of man, Jesus 
expected his friends to be able to realize and bear the thought of 
their parting from him. Hence he speaks of it to them immediately 
after he had heard Peter utter his faith. But Peter's terror of it 
showed how far his faith was from the culmination of faith. Only 
after the departure of Jesus' individual self could their dependence 
on him cease; only then could a spirit of their own or the divine 
spirit subsist in them. "It is expedient for you that I go away." 
Jesus says (John xvi. 7), "for if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come unto you" the Comforter (John xiv. 16 ff.), "the spirit 
of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it knoweth him 
not; I will not leave you behind as orphans; I come to you and yc 
shall see me, because I live and ye shall live also." When yc cease 
merely to see the divine in me and outside yourselves, when ye have 
life in yourselves, then will the divine come to consciousness in you 
also (John xv. 27), because ye have been with me from the begin- 
ning, because our natures are one in love and in God. "The spirit 
will guide you into all truth" (John xvi. 13), and will put you in 
mind of all things that I have said unto you. He is a Comforter. To 
give comfort means to give the expectation of a good like the one 
lost or greater than the one lost; so shall ye not be left behind as 
orphans, (318) since as much as ye think to lose in losing me, so 
much shall ye receive in yourselves. 

Jesus also contrasts individuality with the spirit of the whole. 
Whoever (Matthew xii. 31 ff.) blasphemes a man (blasphemes me 
as the son of man), this sin shall be forgiven him. But whoso bias- 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

phcmes the spirit itself, the divine, his sin shall not be forgiven 
either in this time or in the time to come. Out of the abundance of 
the heart (verse 34) the mouth speaketh; out of the treasure of a 
good spirit the good man bringeth forth good things, out of the 
evil spirit the evil man bringeth forth evil. He who blasphemes the 
individual (i.e., blasphemes me as an individual self) shuts himself 
out only from me, not from love; but he who sunders himself from 
God blasphemes nature itself, blasphemes the spirit in nature; his 
spirit has destroyed its own holiness, and he is therefore incapable 
of annulling his separation and reuniting himself with love, with 
holiness. By a sign ye could be shaken, but that would not restore 
in you the nature ye have lost. The Eumenides of your being 
could be terrified, but the void left in you by the Daemons thus 
chased away would not be filled by love. It will only draw your 
furies back again, and, now strengthened by your very conscious- 
ness that they are furies of hell, they complete your destruction. 

The culmination of faith, the return to the Godhead whence man 
is born, closes the circle of man's development. Everything lives in 
the Godhead, every living thing is its child, but the child carries the 
unity, the connection, the concord with the entire harmony, undis- 
turbed though undeveloped, in itself. It begins with faith in gods 
outside itself, with fear, until through its actions it has [isolated 
and] separated itself more and more; but then it returns through as- 
sociations to the original unity which now is developed, self-pro- 
duced, and sensed as a unity. The child now knows God, i.e., the 
spirit of God is present in the child, issues from its restrictions, 
annuls the modification, and restores the whole. God, the Son, the 
Holy Spirit! 

"Teach all nations" (the last words of the glorified Jesus 
Matthew xxviii. 19) "baptizing them into these relationships of 
the divine, into the connection of 96 the Father, the Son, and the 

96. [The A.V. reads "baptizing them in the name of the Father," etc., but 
the Greek means "baptizing them into the name," etc. The expression "into 
the name of someone" is common in Hellenistic Greek with a financial refer- 
ence; e.g., it is used of money paid into someone's name and so into his posses- 
sion. The meaning here is parallel to this, i.e., "baptizing them so that they are 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

Holy Ghost." From the very context of the words, it is clear that 
by "baptizing into" we are not to understand a dipping in water, a 
so-called "christening" in which there has to be an utterance of 
certain words like a magic formula. The word paOtiTtveut [teach] 
is likewise deprived of the notion of teaching proper by the clause 
which follows it. God cannot be taught or learned, since he is life 
and can be apprehended only with life. "Fill them with the spiritual 
relation" (8^0/10, [name]; cf. Matthew x. 41: "whoso receiveth a 
prophet els oyo/za Trpo^rjrov [in the name of a prophet], i.e., in so 
far as he is a prophet) 97 "which connects the One, the modification 
(separation) , (319) and the developed reunification in life and spirit 
(i.e., not in conceptual thinking alone)." In Matthew xxi. 25 Jesus 
asks: Whence was the baptism (/^ATmcr/m) of John? From heaven 
or of men? BaTmajua means the entire consecration of spirit and 
character; in connection with it we may also think of the immer- 
sion in water, but only as an incidental. But in Mark i. 4 the thought 
that John used this form for reception into his spiritual community 
totally disappears. "John," we read, "preached the baptism of re- 
pentance for the forgiveness of sins." In verse 8 John says: "I have 
baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy 
Ghost" and (as Luke iii. 16 adds) "with fire" (iv irvevnan ayiq 
Kal irvpi. Cf. Matthew xii. 28 : iv 7n>ei>juan Otov ^/c/3d\Xw rd 5at/jt6?ta> 
in the spirit of God, i.e., as one with God) . He will press upon you 
with fire and the holy spirit and will fill you with these because 
when he who is himself filled with the spirit consecrates others iv 
[in spirit] (Mark i. 8), he consecrates them also els 7n>eO/za, 



entered as the possession of the Father, etc." The expression "baptizing into" 
is used in the Epistles to describe the act whereby a mystical union is produced 
(e.g., Romans vi. 3), and it is this meaning which Hegel sees in this passage.] 

97. [In this passage the Greek words translated "in the name" again mean 
"into the name." Here they seem to be equivalent to a usage in rabbinical He- 
brew and to mean "for the sake" or, in this context, "receive a prophet with- 
out an ulterior motive and for his own sake, simply because he is a prophet." 
Hegel's attempt to relate the exegesis of this passage to that of the other is 
dubious and perplexing. He seems to take 6o/ua, name, to mean "spirit" (sec 
above, p. 271) or "spiritual relation" (see above, p. 259) and to hold that the 
relation in question is that which unites the three Persons as interpreted here.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

els &>o/za [into spirit, into the "name"] (Matthew xxviii. 19). 
What they receive, what comes into them, is nothing other than 
what is in him. 

John's habit (nothing similar is known to have been done by 
Jesus) of baptizing by immersion in water those drawn to his spirit 
is an important and symbolical one. No feeling is so homogeneous 
with the desire for the infinite, the longing to merge into the in- 
finite, as the desire to immerse one's self in the sea. To plunge into 
it is to be confronted by an alien element which at once flows 
round us on every side and which is felt at every point of the body. 
We are taken away from the world and the world from us. We are 
nothing but felt water which touches us where we are, and we are 
only where we feel it. In the sea there is no gap, no restriction, no 
multiplicity, nothing specific. The feeling of it is the simplest, the 
least broken up. After immersion a man comes up into the air 
again, separates himself from the water, is at once free from it and 
yet it still drips from him everywhere. So soon as the water 
leaves him, the world around him takes on specific characteristics 
again, and he comes back strengthened to the consciousness of 
multiplicity. When we look out into a cloudless sky and into 
the simple, shapeless, plain of an eastern horizon, we have no sense 
of the surrounding air, and the play of our thoughts is something 
different from mere gazing. In immersion there is only one feeling, 
there is only forgetfulness of the world, a solitude which has 
repelled everything, withdrawn itself from everything. The bap- 
tism of Jesus appears in Mark's account (i. 9 ff.) as such a with- 
drawal from the entire past, as an inspiring consecration into 
a new world in which reality floats before the new spirit in a form 
in which there is no distinction between reality and dream: "He 
was baptized of John in Jordan, and straightway coming up out of 
the water he saw the heavens opened and the spirit like a dove de- 
scending upon him. (320) And there came a voice from heaven, 
Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And immedi- 
ately the spirit drove him into the wilderness, and he was there 
forty days, tempted of Satan, and he was with the wild beasts, and 

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angels ministered unto him." In coming out of the water he is 
filled with the highest inspiration, and this prevents him from re- 
maining in the world and drives him into the wilderness. At that 
point the working of his spirit had not yet detached itself from the 
consciousness of everyday affairs. To this detachment he was fully 
awakened only after forty days, and thereafter he enters the world 
with confidence but in firm opposition to it. 

The expression /Lta^rcucrare /3a7rrtfoj'Te$ ["teach all nations, 
baptizing them" (Matthew xxviii. 19)] is therefore of deep sig- 
nificance. U A11 power is given unto me in heaven and upon earth" 
(cf. John xiii. 31, where Jesus speaks of his glorification at the 
moment when Judas has left the company to betray him to the 
Jews, at that juncture when he awaited his return to his Father who 
is greater than he; [so here in Matthew he speaks of his power] at 
the time when he is represented as already withdrawn from every- 
thing which the world could demand of him, from every part of 
his life in which the world could share) . " All power is given unto 
me in heaven and upon earth. Go ye therefore into all nations and 
make them your disciples so that ye consecrate them into connec- 
tion with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so that that united 
spirit may flow round them and be felt round them just as the water 
touches every part of the body of those immersed in it, and 
lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." At this 
moment when Jesus is represented as freed from all worldliness 
and personality, there can less than ever be any thought that his 
essence is an individuality, a personality. He is among those whose 
essence is permeated by the Holy Spirit, who are initiated into the 
divine, whose essence lives in the divine which is now consummated 
and living in Jesus. 

This baptism into connection with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 
is expressed much more weakly by Luke (xxiv. 47) as preaching 
repentance and remission of sins in the name of Christ, a preaching 
which was to begin at Jerusalem. "Ye are witnesses of these things. 
I send the promise of my Father upon you." They are not to begin 
their work outside Jerusalem until they are "endued with power 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

from on high." A doctrine pure and simple can be preached, and 
supported by the testimony of events, without being itself pos- 
sessed by the Holy Spirit. But teaching of that kind is no consecra- 
tion, not a baptism of the spirit. In Mark (even if the last chapter 
be not wholly genuine, still its tone is characteristic) this leave- 
taking of Jesus is expressed much more objectively. Spirituality 
appears here rather as a customary formula; the expressions are 
words chilled and conventionalized by the custom of a church. 
(321) "Preach the Gospel" (without any further addition, so that 
"Gospel" is a sort of technical term); "the baptized believer shall 
be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." The "be- 
liever" and the man who has been "baptized" are expressions al- 
ready having the appearance of specific words serving to mark off a 
sect or communion, words without soul whose whole meanings are 
presupposed. 98 Instead of using the spirit-laden "I am with you 
alway" to express how believers are filled with the spirit of God 
and the glorified Jesus, Mark speaks in dry terms, uninspired and 
without spiritual animation, of wonderful dominations over this 
world, of the expulsion of devils, and of similar actions which will 
be within the power of believers. The words are as objective as 
only those words can be in which actions are described without 
any hint of their soul. 

What Jesus calls the "Kingdom of God" is the living harmony 
of men, their fellowship in God; it is the development of the divine 
among men, the relationship with God which they enter through 
being filled with the Holy Spirit, i.e., that of becoming his sons and 
living in the harmony of their developed many-sidedness and their 
entire being and character. In this harmony their many-sided con- 
sciousness chimes in with one spirit and their many different lives 
with one life, but, more than this, by its means the partitions 
against other godlike beings are abolished, and the same living 
spirit animates the different beings, who therefore are no longer 

98. [I.e., the words presuppose ecclesiastical doctrines expressed in tech- 
nical language instead of in the living words of direct spiritual experience. Cf. 
above, pp. 83-85.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

merely similar but one; they make up not a collection but a com- 
munion, since they are unified not in a universal, a concept (e.g., as 
believers), but through life and through love. 

The Jewish language gave Jesus the word "Kingdom," which 
imports something heterogeneous into the expression of the divine 
unification of men, for it means only a union through domination, 
through the power of a stranger over a stranger, a union to be 
totally distinguished from the beauty of the divine life of a pure 
human fellowship, because such a life is of all things the freest pos- 
sible. This idea of a Kingdom of God completes and comprises the 
whole of the [Christian] religion as Jesus founded it, and we have 
still to consider whether it completely satisfies nature or whether 
his disciples w r ere impelled by any need to something beyond, and, 
if so, what that need was. 

In the Kingdom of God what is common to all is life in God. This 
is not the common character which a concept expresses, but is 
love, a living bond which unites the believers; it is this feeling of 
unity of life, a feeling in which all oppositions, as pure enmities, and 
also rights, as unifications of still subsisting oppositions, are an- 
nulled. "A new command give I unto you," says Jesus [John xiii. 
34], "that ye love one another; thereby shall men know that ye 
are my disciples." This friendship of soul, (322) described in the 
language of reflection as an essence, as spirit, is the divine spirit, 
is God who rules the communion. Is there an idea more beautiful 
than that of a nation of men related to one another by love? Is there 
one more uplifting than that of belonging to a whole which as a 
whole, as one, is the spirit of God whose sons the individual mem- 
bers are? Was there still to be an incompleteness in this idea, an in- 
completeness which would give a fate power over it? Or would this 
fate be the nemesis raging against a too beautiful endeavor, against 
an overleaping of nature? 

In love man has found himself again in another." Since love is a 
unification of life, it presupposes division, a development of life, a 

99. [On this subject see the fragment on Love translated in chap, iii be- 
low.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

developed many-sidedness of life. The more variegated the mani- 
fold in which life is alive, the more the places in which it can be 
reunified; the more the places in which it can sense itself, the deeper 
does love become. The more extended the multiplicity of the rela- 
tions and feelings of the lovers and the more deeply love is con- 
centrated, the more exclusive it is and the more indifferent to the 
life of other persons. Its joy communes with every other life and 
recognizes it [as life], yet it recoils if it senses an [exclusive] in- 
dividuality in the other. The more isolated men stand in respect of 
their culture and interest, in their relation to the world, and the 
more idiosyncracies they have, the more does their love become 
restricted to itself [i.e., to their own group, instead of spreading 
throughout the world]. If it is to be conscious of its happiness, if it 
is to give happiness to itself as it is fond of doing, it must isolate 
itself, must even create enmities for itself. Therefore the love which 
a large group of people can feel for one another 100 admits of only a 
certain degree of strength or depth and demands both a similarity 
in mind, in interest, in numerous relationships of life, and also a 
diminution of individualities. But since this community of life, this 
similarity of mind, is not love, it can be brought home to conscious- 
ness only through its definite and strongly marked expressions. 
There is no question of a correspondence in knowledge, in similar 
opinions; the linking of many persons depends on similarity of need, 
and it reveals itself in objects which can be common, in relationships 
arising from such objects, and then in a common striving for them 
and a common activity and enterprise. It can attach itself to a 
thousand objects of common use and enjoyment, objects belonging 
to a similar culture, and can know itself in them. A group of similar 
aims, the whole range of physical need, may be an object of united 
enterprise, and in such enterprise a like spirit reveals itself; and 
then this common spirit delights (323) to make itself recognized in 

100. [See G. Keate, The Pellew Islands, German translation by G. Forster 
(Hamburg, 1789), p. xxxiv. Hegel referred to this book in a marginal note. 
Nohl supplies the exact reference.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

the peace [of the group], to be gay in unifying the group, since it 
enjoys itself in gladness and play. 

The friends of Jesus kept together after his death; they ate and 
drank in common. Some of their brotherhoods wholly abolished 
property rights against one another; others did so partly by their 
profuse almsgiving and contributions to the common stock. They 
conversed about their departed friend and master, prayed together, 
strengthened one another in faith and courage. Their enemies ac- 
cused some of their societies of even having wives in common, an 
accusation which they lacked purity and courage enough to de- 
serve, or of which they had no need to feel shame. 101 In common 
many withdrew to make other people sharers in their faith and 
their hopes; and because this is the sole activity of the Christian 
community, proselytizing is that community's essential property. 
Beyond this common pleasure, enjoying, praying, eating, believing 
and hoping, beyond the single activity of spreading the faith, of en- 
larging the community of worship, there still lies a prodigious field 
of objectivity which claims activity of many kinds and sets up a 
fate whose scope extends in all directions and whose power is 
mighty. In love's task the community scorns any unification save 
the deepest, any spirit save the highest. The grand idea of a uni- 
versal philanthropy, 102 a shallow idea and an unnatural one, I pass 
over, since it was not this which was the aspiration of the com- 
munity. But the community cannot go beyond love itself. Apart 
from the relationship of the common faith and the revelations of 
this common possession in the appropriate religious actions, every 
other tie in other objective activities is alien to the community, 
whether the purpose of such a tie be the achievement of some end 
or the development of another side of life or a common activity. 
Equally alien is every spirit of co-operation for something other 
than the dissemination of the faith, every spirit which reveals and 

101. [Perhaps the meaning is that if the accusation was deserved, then no 
shame need have been felt, because the sort of community in question would 
have been compatible with purity. In Heaven there is no giving in marriage.] 

102. [Cf. above, p. 246.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

enjoys itself in play in other modes and restricted forms of life. 
In such a spirit the community would not recognize itself; to have 
done so would have been to renounce love, its own spirit, and be 
untrue to its God. Not only would it have forsaken love, it would 
have destroyed it, since its members would have put themselves in 
jeopardy of clashing against one another's individuality, and must 
have done this all the more as their education was different; and 
they would thereby have surrendered themselves to the province of 
their different characters, to the power of their different fates. For 
the sake of a petty interest, a difference of character in some de- 
tail, love would have been changed into hatred, and a severance 
from God would have followed. This danger is (324) warded off 
only by an inactive and undeveloped love, i.e., by a love which, 
though love is the highest life, remains unliving. Hence the contra- 
natural expansion of love's scope becomes entangled in a contra- 
diction, in a false effort which was bound to become the father of 
the most appalling fanaticism, whether of an active or a passive 
life. 103 This restriction of love to itself, its flight from all deter- 
minate modes of living even if its spirit breathed in them, or even 
if they sprang from its spirit, this removal of itself from all fate, is 
just its greatest fate; and here is the point where Jesus is linked with 
fate, linked indeed in the most sublime way, but where he suffers 
under it. 

[ v. THE FATE OF JESUS AND His CHURCH] 

(325) With the courage and faith of a divinely inspired man, 
called a dreamer by clever people, Jesus appeared among the Jews. 
He appeared possessed of a new spirit entirely his own. He visual- 
ized the world as it was to be, and the first attitude he adopted 
toward it was to call on it to become different; he began therefore 
with the universal message: "Be ye changed, for the Kingdom of 
God is nigh." Had the spark of life lain dormant in the Jews, he 
would only have needed a breath to kindle it into flame and burn 

103. [Cf. Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 5, and the note on p. 288 be- 
low.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

up all their petty titles and claims. If, in their unrest and discontent 
with things as they were, they had been conscious of the need for a 
purer world, then the call of Jesus would have found belief, and 
this belief would have immediately brought into existence the 
thing believed in. Simultaneously with their belief the Kingdom of 
God would have been present. Jesus would simply have expressed 
to them in words what lay undeveloped and unknown in their 
hearts. With the finding of the word and with the entry of their 
need into their consciousness, their bonds would have fallen off; 
of their ancient fate they would have aroused nothing save convul- 
sions from their past life, and their new world would have been es- 
tablished there and then. But though the Jews did want something 
different from what they had had hitherto, they were too self-satis- 
fied in the pride of their servitude to find what they sought in what 
Jesus offered. 

Their reaction, the answer which their genius gave to the call of 
Jesus, was a very impure sort of attention. 104 A small group of pure 
souls attached themselves to him with the urge to be trained by him. 
With great good nature, with the faith of a pure-hearted dreamer, 
he interpreted their desire as a satisfied heart, their urge as a 
completion, their renunciation of some of their previous relation- 
ships, mostly trivial, as freedom and a healed or conquered fate. 
Then* soon after his acquaintance with them he thought them 
capable of providing, and his people ripe for receiving, a more wide- 
ly disseminated preaching of the Kingdom of God. He sent his 
disciples two by two about the country in order to let his call re- 
sound from many lips; but the Holy Spirit did not speak in their 
preaching. (Even after a much longer association with him (326) 
they show themselves ever so often possessed of a small, or at least 
an unpurified, soul, only a few of whose branches had been pene- 
trated by the divine.) Their whole instructions, except for the nega- 
tions which they contained, were to preach the nearness of the 

104. [I.e., his hearers lacked his purity and singleness of heart and there- 
fore did not understand his message fully. This was true even of those who 
knew him best. See above, note on p. 70.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

Kingdom of God. Soon they reassemble with Jesus again, and we 
cannot descry any fruits of Jesus' hopes and their apostleship. The 
indifference with which his call was received soon turned into ha- 
tred. The effect of this hatred on him was an ever increasing bitter- 
ness against his age and his people, especially against those in 
whom the spirit of his nation lived at its strongest and most passion- 
ate, against the Pharisees and the leaders of the people. In his atti- 
tude to them there are no attempts (327) to reconcile them to him, 
to get at their spirit; there are only the most violent outbreaks of 
bitterness against them, the laying bare of their spirit and its hos- 
tility to him. Never once does he treat them with faith in the pos- 
sibility of their conversion. Their entire character was opposed to 
him, and hence, when he had occasion to speak to them on religious 
matters, he could not start on refutation or correction; he only re- 
duces them to silence by argitmenta ad hamimiii. The truth opposed 
to their way of thinking he addresses to the other people present. 
After the return of his disciples (so it appears from Matthew 
xi), he renounces his people and has the feeling (verse 25 [: "Thou 
hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed 
them unto babes"]) that God reveals himself only to the simple- 
minded. From now onward he restricts himself to working on in- 
dividuals and allows the fate of his nation to stand unassailed, for he 
cuts himself off from it and plucks his friends from its grasp. So 
long as Jesus sees the world unchanged, so long does he flee from it 
and from all connection with it. However much he collides with 
the entire fate of his people, still his relation to it is wholly passive, 
even when that attitude seerns to him to be contradictory. Render 
unto Caesar what is Caesar's, he says, when the Jews brought un- 
der discussion one aspect of their fate, namely, their liability to 
Roman taxation. Though it seemed to him a contradiction that he 
and his friends should have to pay the same tribute as was imposed 
on the Jews, he told Peter to make no resistance, but to pay it. His 
sole relationship with the state was to remain under its jurisdiction; 
to the consequences of subjection to this power he submitted pas- 
sively, deliberately accepting the contradiction of his spirit. 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

The Kingdom of God is not of this world, only it makes a great 
difference for that Kingdom whether this world is actually present 
in opposition to it, or whether its opposition does not exist but is 
only a possibility. The former was in fact the case, and it was with 
full knowledge of this that Jesus suffered at the hands of the state. 
Hence with this [passive] relation to the state one great element in 
a living union is cut away; for the members of the Kingdom of God 
one important bond of association is snapped; they have lost one 
part of freedom, that negative characteristic which an association of 
beauty possesses; they have lost a number of active relationships and 
living ties. The citizens of the Kingdom of God become set over 
against a hostile state, become private persons excluding themselves 
from it. 105 Moreover, to those who have never been active in such a 
living [political] union, who have never enjoyed this association and 
this freedom, especially to those for whom citizenship in the main 
concerns property only, this restriction of life appears not as a theft 
of life but rather as the power of an alien might dominant over ex- 
ternal things which themselves can be freely renounced. Whatever 
is lost in losing a number of relationships, a multiplicity of happy 
and beautiful associations, (328) is offset by a gain in isolated in- 
dividuality and the narrow-souled consciousness of personal pe- 
culiarities. It is true that from the idea of the Kingdom of God all 
the relationships established in a political order are excluded; 
these rank infinitely lower than the living bonds within the divine 
group, and by such a group they can only be despised. But since the 
state was there and neither Jesus nor his following could annul it, 
the fate of Jesus and his following (which remained tiue to him in 
this matter) remains a loss of freedom, a restriction of life, passiv- 
ity under the domination of an alien might which was despised but 
which ceded to Jesus without conditions the little that he wanted 
from it existence among his people. 

Except for this aspect of life [i.e., mere physical existence] 

105. [I.e., not citizens participating in it. See Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 
the note to 270 about Quakers, etc., in the modern state. For freedom as the 
negative characteristic of "beauty" see above, p. 236.] 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

(which may be called not "life" but rather the mere possibility of 
life), the Jewish spirit had not only made itself master of all modi- 
fications of life 106 but also had made itself into a law, as a state, in 
them, and had deformed the purest and most immediate natural re- 
lationships into clear-cut legalities. In the Kingdom of God there 
can be no relation save that which proceeds from the most disinter- 
ested love and so from the highest freedom, save that which ac- 
quires from beauty alone its mode of appearance and its link with 
the world. Because of the impurity of [Jewish] life, Jesus could 
only carry the Kingdom of God in his heart; he could enter into 
relationship with men only to train them, to develop in them the 
good spirit which he believed was in them, and thereby to create 
men whose world would be his world. But in his everyday world 
he had to flee all living relationships because they all lay under 
the law of death, because men were imprisoned under the power of 
Judaism. Had he entered a tie which was free on both sides, he 
would have been associated with the web of Jewish legalities; and 
in order to avoid profaning or destroying any relationship he had 
entered, he would have had to let himself be entangled in the 
threads of that web. The result was that he could find freedom only 
in the void. Every modification of life was in bonds, and therefore 
Jesus isolated himself from his mother, his brothers, and his kins- 
folk. He might love no wife, beget no children; he might not become 
either a father of a family or a fellow-citizen to enjoy a common 
life with his fellows. The fate of Jesus was that he had to suffer 
from the fate of his people; either he had to make that fate his own, 
to bear its necessity and share its joy, to unite his spirit with his 
people's, but to sacrifice his own beauty, his connection with the di- 
vine, or else he had to repel his nation's fate from himself, but sub- 
mit to a life undeveloped and without pleasure in itself. In neither 

106. [I.e., all individuals. The Jewish spirit animated them all and became 
in them a law regulating the whole of their lives except their bare existence; 
i.e., even their private life was life in a state, since Jewish law penetrated into 
the details of private affairs and fixed by legal ordinances family and other re- 
lationships which should have been left to natural affection.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

event would his nature be fulfilled; in the former case he would sense 
only fragments of it, and even these would be sullied; in the latter, 
(329) he would bring it fully into his consciousness, though he 
would know its shape only as a splendid shadow whose essence is 
the highest truth; the sensing of that essence he would have to forgo 
and the truth would not come alive in act and in reality. 

Jesus chose the latter fate, the severance of his nature from the 
world, and he required the same from his friends: "Whoso loveth 
father or mother, son or daughter, more than me is not worthy of 
me." But the more deeply he felt this severance, the less could he 
bear it calmly, and his actions issued from his nature's spirited re- 
action against the world; his fight was pure and sublime because he 
knew the fate in its entire range and had set himself against it. 
When he and the community he founded set themselves in opposi- 
tion to the corruption of their environment, the inevitable result 
was to give a consciousness of corruption both to this corruption 
itself and also to the spirit still relatively free from it, and then to 
set this corruption's fate at variance with itself. The struggle of 
the pure against the impure is a sublime sight, but it soon changes 
into a horrible one when holiness itself is impaired by unholincss, 
and when an amalgamation of the two, with the pretension of being 
pure, rages against fate, because in these circumstances holiness 
itself is caught in the fate and subject to it. 

Jesus foresaw the full horror of this destruction: "I came not," 
he said, "to bring peace on earth, but a sword; I came to set the 
son against his father, the daughter against her mother, the bride 
against her husband's kin." What has in part freed itself from fate 
but in part remains linked therewith, whether there be conscious- 
ness or not of this confusion, must destroy both itself and nature 
all the more frightfully; and when nature and unnature are con- 
fused, the attack on the latter must also affect the former; the 
wheat is trodden underfoot with the tares, and the holiest part of 
nature itself is injured because it is interwoven with the unholy. 
With the consequences before his eyes, Jesus did not think of 
checking his activity in order to spare the world its fate, lessen 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

its convulsions, and leave to it in its downfall the consoling faith 
in its guiltlessness. 

Thus the earthly life of Jesus was separation from the world and 
flight from it into heaven; restoration, in the ideal world, of the 
life which was becoming dissipated into the void; at every opposi- 
tion, the recollection of God and aspiration toward God; yet at 
times practical proof of the divine and therefore a fight against 
fate, partly in the course of spreading the Kingdom of God, with 
the revelation of which the entire kingdom of the world collapsed 
and vanished, partly in the course of immediate reaction against 
single elements in the fate as he came up against them, though not 
against that element which appeared directly as the state and came 
to consciousness even in Jesus and to which his relation was passive. 

(330) The fate of Jesus was not entirely shared by his commu- 
nity. The latter was put together from a number of men who did 
live in a similar separation from the world, but each member found 
more companions with a character like his own; they kept together 
as a group and thus were able to carry on their group life farther 
apart from the world. They thus had less contact with the world, 
less collision with it, and therefore they were less roused by it; they 
lived less in the negative activity of fighting, and the need for a 
positive life must have been stronger in them since community in a 
negation gives no pleasure, affords no beauty. Abolition of prop- 
erty, introduction of community of goods, common meals, these 
belong to the negative side of union instead of constituting a posi- 
tive union. The essence of their group was (a) separation from men 
and (b) love for one another; (a) and (b) are necessarily bound to- 
gether. Love in this context could not and was not supposed to be 
a union of individualities; it was a union in God and in God only. 
Faith can only unify a group if the group sets an actual world over 
against itself and sunders itself from it. Hence the opposition [to 
the rest of the world] became fixed and an essential part of the 
principle of the group, while the group's love must always have 
retained the form of love, of faith in God, without becoming alive, 
without exhibiting itself in specific forms of life, because every 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

form of life can be objectified by the intellect and then apprehended 
as its object, as a cut-and-dried fact. The group's relation to the 
world was bound to become a dread of contacts with it, a fear of 
every form of life, because every form exhibits its deficiency (as a 
form it is only one aspect of the whole and its very formation im- 
plies fixed limits), and what it lacks is a part of the world. Thus 
the community group found no reconciliation of fate but only at- 
tained the extreme opposite of the Jewish spirit, not the middle 
course of beauty between the extremes. The Jewish spirit had 
crystallized the modifications of nature, the relationships of life, 
into mundane realities, but not only was it not ashamed of the inade- 
quacy of these things (for were they not the gifts of the Lord?) 
but its pride and its life were just the possession of these mundane 
realities. The spirit of the Christian communion likewise saw 
mundane realities in every relationship of self-developing and self- 
revealing life. But since this spirit was the feeling of love, its great- 
est enemy was objectivity, and the result was that it remained as 
poor as the Jewish spirit, though it disdained the riches for the sake 
of which the Jewish spirit served.* 

* (331) The dreaming which despises life may very readily pass over into 
fanaticism, since, in order to maintain itself in its relationlessness, it must de- 
stroy that by which it is destroyed, that (be it even purity itself) which for it 
is impure; it must do injury to the content of its foe, a content often consisting 
of the most beautiful ties. Dreamers in later ages have turned the disdain with 
which they treated all forms of life on the ground of their impurity into an un- 
conditional, empty, formlessness, and declared war on every natural impulse, 
simply because it seeks an external form; the more terrible was the effect of 
this attempted suicide, this clutching at empty unity, the more firmly riveted on 
their hearts were the chains of multiplicity, for since their consciousness was 
only a consciousness of restricted forms, nothing was left to them save a flight 
into the void via atrocities and devastations. But when the fate of the world be- 
came too powerful and maintained itself near and in the church, which is in- 
compatible with it, the thought of flight was no longer possible. Great hypo- 
crites against nature therefore endeavored to discover and maintain a contra- 
natural link between the multiplicity of the world and the lifeless unity, be- 
tween (a) all restricted legal ties and virtues and (b) the single spirit. They 
devised for every civil action or for every expression of desire and passion a 
hiding place in the unity in order by this fraud to retain possession and enjoy- 
ment of every restriction and yet at one and the same time to renounce it. 
Since Jesus disdained life with the Jews and yet at the same time did battle with 
his ideal against the realities of their life, the consequence was inevitable: to 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

(332) Over against the negative side of the fate of the Christian 
communion (i.e., over against that opposition to the world which 
converts the modifications of life into determinacies, and relations 
therewith into crimes) there stands the positive side, the bond of 
love. By love's extensioi over a whole community its character 
changes; it ceases to be a living union of individualities and instead 
its enjoyment is restricted to the consciousness of their mutual love. 
Exemption from fate through flight into an empty life was made 
easier for the members of the community because they constituted 
a community which kept itself aloof from and opposed to all forms 
of life or else determined their character solely by the universal 
spirit of love, i.e., it did not live in those forms. 

This love is a divine spirit, but it still falls short of religion. To 
become religion, it must manifest itself in an objective form. A 
feeling, something subjective, it must be fused with the universal, 
with something represented in idea, and thereby acquire the form 
of a being to whom prayer is both possible and due. The need to 
unite subject with object, to unite feeling, and feeling's demand for 
objects, with the intellect, to unite them in something beautiful, in 
a god, by means of fancy, is the supreme need of the human spirit 
and the urge to religion. This urge of the Christian community its 
belief in God could not satisfy because in their God there could have 
been no more than their common feeling. In the God of the world, 
all beings are united; in him there are no members, as members, of a 
community. The harmony of such members is not the harmony of 
the whole; otherwise they would not form a particular community, 



those realities he was bound to succumb. He did not shrink from this develop- 
ment of his fate, though to be sure he did not go in search of it. To every dream- 
er who dreams for himself alone, death is welcome: but the man who dreams 
for the fulfilment of a great plan can feel nothing but grief in leaving the stage 
on which his plan was to have been worked out. Jesus died in the confidence 
that his plan would not miscarry. 

[This paragraph, which comes from an earlier draft, Nohl inserts into the 
main text at this point, but its insertion there breaks the argument, and it has 
seemed better to relegate it to a footnote here. With the paragraph which fol- 
lows, Nohl begins a new section, but Hegel did not, and the translator has not 
done so either.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

would not be linked together by love. The Godhead of the 'world 
is not the manifestation of their love, of their divinity. 

Jesus' need for religion was satisfied in the God of the whole, 
since his sight of God was his flight from the world, was each of 
his constant collisions with the world. He needed only the opposite 
of the world, an opposite in whom his opposition [to the world] 
was itself grounded. He was his father, was one with him. In his 
community, on the other hand, the constant collision with the 
world had more or less vanished; the community lived without 
an active struggle against the world and was to that extent fortu- 
nate in not being continually roused by the world (333) and so in 
not being compelled simply to flee to the opposite of the world, to 
God. Instead, it found in its fellowship, in its love, a satisfaction, 
something real, a sort of living relationship; only, since every rela- 
tion stands over against something related, feeling still has reality 
or, to use a subjective expression, the faculty for understanding 
reality, i.e., the intellect, as its opposite over against itself, and 
therefore its defectiveness must be made up in something which 
unites both the opposites. The community has the need of a God 
who is the God of the community, in whom there is manifested 
just that exclusive love which is the community's character and the 
tie between one member and another; and this must be manifested 
in God not as a symbol or an allegory, not as a personification of a 
subjective entity (for in such a personification the worshiper 
would become conscious of the cleavage between the subjective en- 
tity and its objective manifestation), but as something which is at 
one and the same time feeling, i.e., in the heart, and object; feeling 
here means a spirit which pervades everything and remains a single 
essence even if every individual is conscious of his feeling as his 
own individual feeling. 

A loving circle, a circle of hearts that have surrendered their 
rights against one another over anything their own, that are united 
solely by a common faith and hope, and whose pleasure and joy is 
simply the pure single-heartedness of love, is a Kingdom of God on 
a small scale. But its love is not religion, since the oneness or the 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

love of the members does not at the same time involve the objectifi- 
cation of their oneness. Love unites them, but the lovers do not 
know of this union; when they know anything, they know it as 
something severed. If the divine is to appear, the invisible spirit 
must be united with something visible so that the whole may be 
unified, so that knowing and feeling, harmony and the harmonious, 
may be one, so that there may be a complete synthesis, a perfected 
harmony. Otherwise there remains in relation to the whole of man's 
divisible nature a thirst too slight for the infinity of the world, too 
great for its objectivity, and it cannot be satisfied. There remains 
the quenchless unsatisfied thirst after God. 

After Jesus died, his disciples were like sheep without a shep- 
herd. A friend of theirs was dead, but they had hoped that he would 
be he who was to free Israel (Luke xxiv. 21), and this hope was 
all over with his death. He had taken everything into the grave 
with him; his spirit had not remained behind in them. 107 Their reli- 
gion, (3 34) their faith in pure life, had hung on the individual Jesus. 
He was their living bond; in him the divine had taken shape and 
been revealed. In him God too had appeared to them. His individ- 
uality united for them in a living being the indeterminate and the 
determinate elements in the [entire] harmony. 108 With his death 
they were thrown back on the separation of visible and invisible, 
reality and spirit. To be sure, remembrance of this divine being 
would still be left to them, even though he was now far removed 
from them. The power which his dying exerted over them would 
have been broken in time; in their eyes their dead friend would not 
have remained just dead. Grief for the decaying body would have 
gradually yielded to the intuition of his divinity. The incorruptible 

107. [Hegel here added and later deleted the following: "Two days after 
his death Jesus rose from the dead; faith returned into their hearts; soon the 
Holy Ghost came to them; and the Resurrection became the basis of their faith 
and their salvation. Since the effect of this Resurrection was so great, since this 
event became the centre of their faith, the need for it must have lain very deep 
in their hearts."] 

108. [I.e., Jesus united for them in his own personality the infinite (the 
indeterminate) and the finite (the determinate), the divine and the human.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

spirit and the image of purer manhood would have risen for them 
out of his grave. But alongside reverence for this spirit, alongside the 
enjoyment of intuiting this image, there would still have remained 
the memory of the image's life; this sublime spirit would always 
have had its antithesis in its vanished existence. The presence of 
this spirit to fancy would always have been linked with a longing 
which would have denoted only the need for religion; the group 
would still have found no God of its own. 

The image fell short of beauty and divinity because it lacked 
life. What w r as wanting in the divinity present in the loving com- 
munity, what was wanting in the community's life, was an image 
and a shape. But in the risen Jesus, lifted up heavenward, the image 
found life again, and love found the objectification of its oneness. 
In this remarriage of spirit and body the opposition between the 
living and the dead Jesus has vanished, and the two are united in a 
God. Love's longing has found itself as a living being and can now 
enjoy itself, and worship of this being is now the religion of the 
group. The need for religion finds its satisfaction in the risen 
Jesus, in love thus given shape. 

To consider the resurrection of Jesus as an event is to adopt the 
outlook of the historian, and this has nothing to do with religion. 
Belief or disbelief in the resurrection as a mere fact deprived of its 
religious interest is a matter for the intellect whose occupation (the 
fixation of objectivity) is just the death of religion, and to have re- 
course to the intellect means to abstract from religion. But, of 
course, the intellect seems to have a right to discuss the matter, 
since the objective aspect of God is not simply love given shape; it 
also subsists on its own account, and, as a reality, claims a place in 
the world of realities. (335) For this reason it is hard to cling to the 
religious aspect of the risen Jesus, to cling to configurated love in 
its beauty. Since it is only through an apotheosis that he became 
God, his divinity is a deification of a man present also as a reality. 
As a human individual he lived, died on the cross, and was buried. 
This blemish humanity is something quite different from the 
configuration proper to God. The objective aspect of God, his con- 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

figuration, is objective only in so far as it is simply the presentation 
of the love uniting the group, simply the pure counterpart of that 
love, and it contains nothing not already in love itself (though here 
it appears as love's counterpart), contains nothing which is not at 
the same time feeling. 

But thus the image of the risen one, the image of the unification 
which has now become a living being, comes to have appended to it 
something different, something completely objective and individual- 
ized, which is to be coupled with love but which is to remain firmly 
fixed for the intellect as something individualized, as an object 
which is the intellect's counterpart, which therefore is a mundane 
reality hanging on the deified one like lead on the feet and drawing 
him down to earth. The God [of the Christian group] was thus 
supposed to hover midway between heaven's infinity, where there 
are no barriers, and earth, this collection of plain restrictions. The 
soul [of the group] cannot renounce the conception of natures of 
two different kinds. Just as Hercules soared aloft to become a hero 
only through the funeral pyre, so too the deified one was glorified 
only through a grave. But in the case of Hercules, it was simply to 
courage configurated, simply to the hero who had become god and 
now neither fought nor served any more, that altars were dedicated 
and prayers offered. The case of Jesus is different, because it is not 
the risen one alone who is the cure of sinners and the ecstasy of 
their faith; prayers are also offered to the man who taught, who 
walked on earth and hung on the cross. It is over this tremendous 
combination that, for so many centuries, millions of God-seeking 
souls have fought and tormented themselves. 

The form of a servant, the humiliation in itself, as the veil of 
divine nature, would present no obstacle to the urge for religion if 
only the real human form had been satisfied to be a mere veil and to 
pass away. But this real human form is supposed to remain fixed and 
permanent in God, belonging to his essence, and it is to the in- 
dividual that prayer is to be offered. The veil stripped off in the 
grave, the real human form, has risen again out of the grave and 
attached itself to the one who is risen as God, This sad need which 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

the Christian group felt for a mundane reality is deeply connected 
with its spirit and its spirit's fate. The love of its members, which 
made every form of life into consciousness of an object and there- 
fore despised all such forms, did recognize itself as given shape in 
the risen one; but in their eyes he was not love pure and simple. 
Since their love, cut off from the world, did not manifest itself 
either in the development of life or in its beautiful ties (336) and 
the formation of natural relationships, since their love was to re- 
main love and not become life, they had to have some criterion for 
the recognition of love before their mutual faith in love could be- 
come possible. Love itself did not create a thoroughgoing union be- 
tween them, and therefore they needed another bond which would 
link the group together and in which also the group would find the 
certainty of the love of all. The group thus had to recognize itself 
[not merely in love pure and simple but] in a factual reality. Now 
this reality was the similarity of faith, the similarity of having 
adopted a doctrine, having had a common master and teacher. This 
is a remarkable aspect of the spirit of the group, that in its eyes the 
divine, its unifying principle, has the form of something given. To 
the spirit, to life, nothing is given. What it has acquired, that it has 
itself become; its acquisition has so far passed over into it that it 
is now a modification of itself, is its life. But in the lifelessness of 
the group's love the spirit of its love remained so athirst, felt itself 
so empty, that it could not fully recognize in itself, living in itself, 
its corresponding spirit; on the contrary, to this spirit it remained a 
stranger. To be connected with an alien spirit, felt as alien, is to be 
conscious of dependence on it. Since the love of the group had over- 
reached itself by being spread over a whole assembly of people and 
therefore was now filled with an ideal content but was deficient in 
life, the bare ideal of love was something "positive" for it; it 
recognized it as set over against itself and itself as dependent on it. 
In its spirit lay the consciousness of discipleship and of a lord and 
master. Its spirit was not completely manifested in love configu- 
rated. That side of it which was reception, learning, inferiority to 
the master, found its manifestation in love's configuration only 

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

when there was linked with that configuration a reality which stood 
over against the group. This higher entity set over against the 
group is not the sublimity which its God necessarily has because, so 
far from the individual's recognizing himself as equal with Him. 
in Him the whole spirit of all those who are united is contained. 
On the contrary, it is something positive, an object which has in it 
as much foreignness, as much dominion, as there is dependence in 
the spirit of the group. In this community of dependence, the com- 
munity of having a common founder, and in this intermixture of his- 
torical fact with its life, the group recognized its real bond and that 
assurance of unification which could not be sensed in a love that 
was unliving. 

This is the point at which the group is caught in the toils of fate, 
even though, on the strength of the love which maintained itself 
in its purity outside every tie with the world, it seemed to have 
evaded fate altogether. (337) Its fate, however, was centered in 
the fact that the love which shunned all ties was extended over a 
group; and this fate was all the more developed the more the group 
expanded and, owing to this expansion, continually coincided more 
and more with the world's fate both by unconsciously adopting 
many of that fate's aspects and also by continually becoming sullied 
itself in the course of its struggle against that fate. 

The nondivine object, for which worship is also demanded, never 
becomes divine whatever radiance may shine around it. 

It is true that even the man Jesus is surrounded by heavenly 
phenomena. In his birth, higher beings are concerned. He himself 
was once transfigured into a shining figure of light. But even these 
heavenly forms are purely external to the real man, and the beings 
who surround the individual, and whose divinity is greater than 
his, serve only to make the contrast strike the eye more forcibly. 
Still less than such a passing halo can the deeds regarded as divine 
and issuing from himself lift him into the higher shape [of a heaven- 
ly being]. The miracles, which do not simply hover about him but 
proceed from his inner power, appear to be an attribute worthy of a 
God, a characteristic of a God; in them the divine seems most inti- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mately linked with objective fact, and thus the harsh opposition and 
the mere tie between opposites seems here to have fallen away; 
these wonderful deeds are accomplished by the man; he and the 
divine seem inseparable. But the closer the tie (which yet remains 
a tie and does not become a unification), the more harshly are we 
struck by the unnaturalness of a tie between the opposites. 

In the miracle as an action, the intellect is given a connection of 
cause and effect, and it recognizes here the domain of its concepts. 
Yet at the same time this domain is destroyed because the cause is 
supposed to be not something as specific as the effect but something 
infinite. For the intellect the connection of cause and effect is a con- 
nection between two things equally determinate, their opposition 
consisting purely in the fact that the one is active, the other pas- 
sive; in a miraculous action, however, something infinite with in- 
finite causality is supposed at the same time to have an extremely re- 
stricted effect. What is unnatural is not the annulling of the intel- 
lect's sphere but its being posited and annulled simultaneously. 
Now just as the positing of an infinite cause contradicts the positing 
of a finite effect, so the infinite [spirit] annuls the determinate ef- 
fect. (338) Seen from the intellect's standpoint, the infinite [cause] 
is only a negative, the indeterminate to which something deter- 
minate is linked. But if we look on the infinite as a Being, then we 
are dealing with spiritual causality, and the specific determinacy of 
the effect wrought by a spirit is only its negative aspect. Only from 
another's standpoint of comparison can the spirit's action seem de- 
terminate; in itself, pursuant to its being, it is the annulling of a 
determinacy and is inherently infinite. 

When a God effects something, it is a working of spirit on 
spirit. Causality presupposes an object on which the effect is 
wrought, but the effect wrought by spirit is the annulling of the 
object. The outgoing of the divine is only a development, so that, 
in annulling what stands over against it, it manifests itself in a union 
with that opposite. In miracles, however, the spirit seems to be 
working on bodies. The cause would not be a configurated spirit 
whose figure, treated solely in its opposition to spirit, i.e., as a 

[296] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

body, could enter the connection of cause and effect along with 
some other body similar to it and opposable to it, because then this 
connection would be an association of spirit (which is only spirit 
in so far as it has nothing in common with body) with body (which 
is body because there is nothing in common between it and spirit) ; 
but spirit and body have nothing in common; they are absolute 
opposites. Their union, in which their opposition ceases, is a life, 
i.e., spirit configurated; and when this spirit w r orks as something 
divine and undivided, its deed is a marriage with a related being, a 
divine one, and an engendering, developing, of a new being which 
is the manifestation of their union. But if spirit w ? orks in a different 
shape, as an opposite, as something hostile and domineering, it has 
forgotten its divinity. Miracles therefore are the manifestation of 
the most z/A/divine, because they are the most unnatural of phe- 
nomena. (339) They contain the harshest opposition between spirit 
and body, two downright opposites here conjoined without any 
mitigation of their prodigiously harsh contradiction. Divine action 
is the restoration and manifestation of oneness; miracle is the su- 
preme disseverance. 

Thus any expectation that the actual body associated with the 
Jesus who had been glorified and deified would be raised to divinity 
on the strength of miraculous deeds wrought by him in the flesh is 
so .entirely unfulfilled that it rather intensifies all the more the 
harshness of thus attaching an actual body to him. Nevertheless, 
this harshness is all the greater for us than for the members of the 
first Christian community, the more intellectual we are in com- 
parison with them. They were breathed upon by the oriental spirit; 
the separation of spirit and body was less complete for them; they 
regarded fewer things as objects and so handed fewer things over to 
intellectual treatment. Where w r e have intellectual cognition of a 
determinate fact or a historical objectivity, they often see spirit; 
where we place only spirit unalloyed, there they look on spirit as 
embodied. An instance of the latter type of outlook is their way of 
taking what we call immortality, and in particular the immortality 
of the soul. To them it appears as a resurrection of the body. Both 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

outlooks are extremes, and the Greek spirit lies between them. 
Our extreme is the outlook of reason which sets a soul something 
negative in the sight of every intellect over against the intellect's 
object, the dead body. The early Christian extreme is the outlook, 
so to say, of a positive capacity of reason to posit the body as living 
while at the same time it has taken it for dead. Between these ex- 
tremes is the Greek view that body and soul persist together in one 
living shape. For both extremes death is a separation of body and 
soul; in the one case the body of the soul exists no longer, in the 
other the body is a persistent, though here too it is without life. 
While we set to work solely with the intellect and see in another 
person just a factual entity, or, what amounts to the same thing, a 
spirit in some way alien to ourselves, the early Christians mingle 
their spirit with his. 

In the Jewish writings we see past events, individual situations, 
and a human spirit that has passed away; in their acts of worship we 
see the doing of what has been commanded, and the spirit, purpose, 
and rationale of what is done exist for us no longer and no longer 
have any truth. For the Jews all this still had truth and spirit, but 
only their truth and their spirit; they did not let it become objective. 
The spirit they ascribe to passages in the Prophets and other Jew- 
ish books consists neither (so far as the Prophets are concerned) in 
discovering the Prophets' intention to foretell real events nor (so 
far as the readers are concerned) in applying the prophecies to 
reality. There is an uncertain formless hovering between (340) 
reality and spirit. On the one hand, in considering reality, only the 
spirit is considered; on the other, reality as such is present there, 
but not fixed. To give an example, John (xii. 14 ff.) connects the 
fact that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on an ass with an utterance 
of the prophet whose inspiration saw a similar procession, and 
John allows this prophecy to find its truth in the Gospel procession. 
The proofs that similar passages in the Jewish books are sometimes 
cited wrongly, against the sense of the original words, and some- 
times explained in defiance of the sense they bear in their context, 
that they sometimes refer to quite different events, to men and cir- 

[298] 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

cumstances contemporary with the Prophets, while at other times 
they are just isolated prophetic inspirations all these proofs are 
relevant only to the bare fact of the connection which the Apostles 
make between them and incidents in the life of Jesus. They do not 
touch the truth and spirit of that connection; and the truth of that 
connection is no more visible if the prophecies are taken in a strict 
and objective sense and it is supposed that the actual words and 
visions of the Prophets are an earlier expression of subsequent 
facts. The spirit of the connection which Christ's friends find in the 
relation between the prophetic visions and the stories of Jesus 
would be interpreted too weakly if the connection were supposed to 
consist solely in the comparison of similar situations, a comparison 
like that which we often make when to the description of a situa- 
tion we subjoin tags from ancient writers. In the example cited 
above, John expressly says that the friends of Jesus did not realize 
these connections until after Jesus w r as glorified, until after they had 
received the Spirit. Had John seen in this connection nothing but a 
happy accident, a mere resemblance of different things, there 
would have been no need for this remark. But the Prophet's vision 
and the circumstances of Jesus' action are one in spirit; and since 
the connection is a connection in spirit only, the objective view of 
it as the coincidence [between the prophecy and] an event and an 
individual disappears. This spirit, which is so far from crystallizing 
the actual or making it indeterminate and which sees in it something 
spiritual and not something individualized, is specially obvious again 
in John (xi. 50-51 [: "This he spake not of himself, but being High 
Priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that na- 
tion"]), where, in connection with the saying of Caiaphas (that it 
were better for one man to die for the people than that the whole 
people should come into jeopardy) and its application, John reminds 
us that Caiaphas said this not for himself as an individual but as 
High Priest and in prophetic inspiration (lirpo^Tevaev) . In what 
we might perhaps regard as an instrument of divine providence, 
John sees something filled with the spirit, because the outlook 
of Jesus and his friends was of such a type that it could not be 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

more opposed to anything than to that point of view which takes 
everything for a machine, a tool, or an instrument; their out- 
look was rather a supreme faith in spirit. (341) Where we de- 
scry a unity in the conjuncture of actions which taken individual- 
ly and by themselves lack this unity (i.e., the intention behind the 
entire effect), and where we regard these actions, e.g., Caiaphas', 
as subjected to the intention, as unconsciously guided and dominat- 
ed by it in their relation to the unity, and thus treat them as mere 
events and instrumentalities, John sees the unity of the spirit and, 
in Caiaphas' action, the agency of the spirit of the entire effect. He 
speaks of Caiaphas as himself filled by that spirit in which lay the 
necessity of Jesus' fate. 

Thus, seen with the soul of the Apostles, the miracles 109 lose the 
harshness which the opposition in them between spirit and body 
has for us. The reason for this is that it is obvious that the Apostles 
lack the European intellectualism which extracts all spirit from the 
contents of consciousness and crystallizes the latter into absolute 
objectivities, into realities downright opposed to spirit. Their cog- 
nition is more like a vague hovering between reality and spirit; both 
of these were separated, but not so irrevocably, and yet they did 
not coalesce into a pure nature but already themselves afforded the 
clear opposition which, with further development, was bound to 
become a pairing of living and dead, divine and actual. By conjoin- 
ing the man Jesus with the glorified and deified Jesus, this vagueness 
pointed to a satisfaction of the deepest urge for religion, but it did 
not provide this satisfaction, and the urge was thus turned into an 
endless, unquenchable, and unappeased longing. The longing re- 
mains unsatisfied because even in its highest dreams, even in the 
transports of the most finely organized love-breathing souls, it is 
always confronted by the individual, by something objective and ex- 
clusively personal. In all the depths of their beautiful feelings those 
who felt this longing pined for union with him, though this union, 
because he is an individual, is eternally impossible. The individual 

109. [With this discussion of miracles, compare pp. 165-67 and n. 43 
jibove.J 

f 3001 



THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY 

always confronts them; he remains eternally in their consciousness 
and never allows religion to become a perfected life. 

In all the forms of the Christian religion which have been de- 
veloped in the advancing fate of the ages, there lies this fundamen- 
tal characteristic of opposition in the divine which is supposed to 
be present in consciousness only, never in life. This is true of the 
ecstatic unifications of the dreamer who renounces all multiplicity 
of life, even multiplicity of the purest type in which the spirit en- 
joys itself, and who is conscious of God alone and so could shake 
off the opposition between his own personality [and God] only in 
death. It is equally true later when the church enjoys the actuality 
of the most multiplex consciousness and unites itself with the fate 
of the world and when God then becomes opposed to that fate. 
This is either the felt opposition in all actions and expressions of 
life (342) which purchase their righteousness with the sense of the 
servitude and the nullity of their opposition, as happens in the Cath- 
olic church, or the opposition of God [to the fate of the world] in 
mere more or less pious thoughts, as in the Protestant church; 
either the opposition between a hating God and life, which thus is 
taken as a disgrace and a crime, as in some Protestant sects, or the 
opposition between a benevolent God and life with its joys, which 
thus are merely something received, are his favors and gifts, are 
mere facts, and then, too, the form of spirit hovering over them in 
the idea of a divine man, the prophets, etc., is degraded to a histori- 
cal and objective attitude of mind. Between these extremes of the 
multiple or diminished consciousness of friendship, hate, or indiffer- 
ence toward the world, between these extremes which occur within 
the opposition between God and the world, between the divine and 
life, the Christian church has oscillated to and fro, but it is contrary 
to its essential character to find peace in a nonpersonal living beauty. 
And it is its fate that church and state, worship and life, piety and 
virtue, spiritual and worldly action, can never dissolve into one. 



[301] 



Ill 

LOVE 

[Hegel probably wrote the following fragment on Love (Nohl, pp. 378- 
82) late in 1797 or early in 1798, a year or eighteen months before 77?^ 
Spirit of Christianity. The surviving manuscript begins in the middle of a 
sentence, and the meaning of the opening paragraph and its connection 
with what follows is a matter for conjecture. 

Hegel seems to have been thinking, as so often during his early years, 
of the oppositions within man, between man and man, between man and 
nature, etc., and of the problem of their unification. In ancient Greece he 
saw a happy and unified life, but misery and opposition seemed to him to 
characterize those under the influence of a positive or authoritarian religion 
Noah, as we have seen in the first section of The Spirit of Christianity, op- 
posed himself to both God and the world, with the result that there was no 
unity but only a relation of master and servant. Abraham saw not only 
himself but also his family and nation as God's favorite. Christianity has 
been less exclusive still, but, in so far as it remains a positive religion, it dis- 
tinguishes between the faithful and the heathen and opposes the latter to 
the former. The cosmopolitanism of some eighteenth-century writers tries 
to overcome this opposition, but only at the expense of depressing the in- 
dividual. In each of these instances a wider number of men are put on the 
same footing with one another; they enjoy the same rights and the same 
favor from the Lord, and they have the satisfaction of sharing in his domin- 
ion because they are his favorites; to this extent they are unified. But the 
unity of life is here broken by the relation (characteristic of authoritarian 
religion) of bondage to an objective Lord, and equally broken by the sub- 
ordination of the individual to a universal end in which he has little or no 
share. The only solution of these discords is love, not the attenuated love 
which might be supposed to unite all Christians, but a genuine living bond, 
a true unity of opposites, like that which Jesus preached. 

In this reconstruction of Hegel's first paragraph, as well as in the rest of 
the translation, the translator has been specially helped by Haering, Hegel, 
sein Wollen und sein Werk, I, pp. 366-90.] 

(378) But the wider this whole [i.e., either the Jewish people or 
Christendom] extends, the more an equality of rights is transposed 
into an equality of dependence (as happens when the believer in 

[302] 



LOVE 

cosmopolitanism comprises in his whole the entire human race), 
the less is dominion over objects granted to any one individual, and 
the less of the ruling Being's favor does he enjoy. Hence each in- 
dividual loses more and more of his worth, his pretensions, and his 
independence. This must happen, because his worth was his share 
in dominion [over objects] ; for a man without the pride of being the 
center of things the end of his collective whole is supreme, and be- 
ing, like all other individuals, so small a part of that, he despises 
himself. 

[Here there is no living union between the individual and his 
world; the object, severed from the subject, is dead; and the only 
love possible is a sort of relationship between the living subject and 
the dead objects by which he is surrounded.] Since something dead 
here forms one term of the love relationship, love is girt by matter 
alone, and this matter is quite indifferent to it. Love's essence at 
this level, then, is that the individual in his innermost nature is 
something opposed [to objectivity]; he is an independent unit for 
whom everything else is a world external to him. That w r orld is as 
eternal as he is, and, while the objects by which he is confronted 
change, they are never absent; they are there, and his God is there, 
as surely as he is here; this is the ground of his tranquillity in face of 
loss and his sure confidence that his loss will be compensated, be- 
cause compensation here is possible. 1 This attitude makes matter 
something absolute in man's eyes; but, of course, if he never existed, 
then nothing would exist for him, and what necessity was there for 
his existence? 2 That he might exist is intelligible enough, because 
beyond that collection of restricted experiences which make up his 
consciousness there is nothing whatever; the eternal and self-com- 
plete unification [with the object] is lacking. 3 But the individual 

1. [I.e., what is lost at this level of thought is a material object and there- 
fore something replaceable by something else.] 

2. [I.e., if his existence (the existence of the subject) is not necessary, then 
the existence of matter (the object correlative to the subject) is not necessary 
or absolute either.] 

3. [I.e., the subject may give up thinking of matter as something absolute 
and may take the object correlative with the subject to be only the states of his 

[303] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

cannot bear to think himself in this nullity. He exists only as some- 
thing opposed [to the object], and one of a pair of opposites is 
reciprocally condition and conditioned. Thus his thought of self 
must transcend his own consciousness, 4 for there is no determinant 
without something determined, and vice versa. 

In fact, nothing is unconditioned; nothing carries the root of its 
own being in itself. [Subject and object, man and matter,] each is 
only relatively necessary; the one exists only for the other, and 
hence exists in and for itself only on the strength of a power outside 
itself; the one shares in the other only through that power's favor 
and grice. 5 Nowhere is any independent existence to be found ex- 
cept in an alien Being; it is this Being which (379) presents man 
with everything. This is the Being which man has to thank for him- 
self and for immortality, blessings for which he begs with fear and 
trembling. 

True union, or love proper, exists only between living beings 
who are alike in power and thus in one another's eyes living beings 
from every point of view; in no respect is either dead for the other. 
This genuine love excludes all oppositions. It is not the under- 
standing, whose relations always leave the manifold of related 
terms as a manifold and whose unity is always a unity of opposites 
[left as opposites]. It is not reason either, because reason sharply 
opposes its determining power to what is determined. Love 
neither restricts nor is restricted; it is not finite at all. It is a feel- 
ing, yet not a single feeling [among other single feelings]. A 



own consciousness. This makes the subject absolute, but it implies the intoler- 
able thought that the subject lives in a vacuum, and therefore the subject is 
driven to think again.] 

4. [I.e., instead of opposing himself to an object outside him, he must real- 
ize that subject and object are neither of them absolutes but are reciprocally 
conditioned and thus elements in a single living whole.] 

5. [At this point Hegel ceases to think of the relation between man and the 
material world and thinks instead of the relation between the world (including 
mind and matter) and God. This relation is first conceived (as in a positive re- 
ligion) as a relation between servant and master; only in Christ's religion of 
love is the relation truly conceived as a union in love.] 

[304] 



LOVE 

single feeling is only a part and not the whole of life; the life 
present in a single feeling dissolves its barriers and drives on 
till it disperses itself in the manifold of feelings with a view to 
finding itself in the entirety of this manifold. This whole life is not 
contained in love in the same way as it is in this sum of many par- 
ticular and isolated feelings; in love, life is present as a duplicate of 
itself and as a single and unified self. Here life has run through the 
circle of development from an immature to a completely mature 
unity : when the unity was immature, there still stood over against 
it the world and the possibility of a cleavage between itself and the 
world; as development proceeded, reflection produced more and 
more oppositions (unified by satisfied impulses) until it set the 
whole of man's life in opposition [to objectivity]; finally, love 
completely destroys objectivity and thereby annuls and transcends 
reflection, deprives man's opposite of all foreign character, and dis- 
covers life itself without any further defect. In love the separate 
does still remain, but as something united and no longer as some- 
thing separate; life [in the subject] senses life [in the object]. 

Since love is a sensing of something living, lovers can be dis- 
tinct only in so far as they are mortal and do not look upon this 
possibility of separation as if there were really a separation or as 
if reality were a sort of conjunction between possibility and ex- 
istenceMn the lovers there is no matter; they are a living whole. 
To say that the lovers have an independence and a living principle 
peculiar to each of themselves means only that they may die [and 
may be separated by death] . To say that salt and other minerals are 
part of the makeup of a plant and that these carry in themselves 
their own laws governing their operation (380) is the judgment of 
external reflection and means no more than that the plant may rot. 
But love strives to annul even this distinction [between the lover 
as lover and the lover as physical organism], to annul this possibil- 

6. [This may be a reference to Aristotle's doctrine that natural objects are 
composite of matter (mere potentiality, inactive and inacmal) and form (in- 
telligible actuality), or it may be an allusion to the doctrine of Baumgarten 
mentioned above, p. 214, n. 39.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ity [of separation] as a mere abstract possibility, to unite [with it- 
self] even the mortal element [within the lover] and to make it im- 
mortal. 

If the separable element persists in either of the lovers as some- 
thing peculiarly his own before their union is complete, it creates a 
difficulty for them. 7 There is a sort of antagonism between com- 
plete surrender or the only possible cancellation of opposition (i.e., 
its cancellation in complete union) and a still subsisting independ- 
ence. Union feels the latter as a hindrance; love is indignant if 
part of the individual is severed and held back as a private prop- 
erty. This raging of love against [exclusive] individuality is shame. 
Shame is not a reaction of the mortal body, not an expression of the 
freedom to maintain one's life, to subsist. The hostility in a love- 
less assault does injury to the loving heart itself, and the shame of 
this now injured heart becomes the rage which defends only its 
right, its property. If shame, instead of being an effect of love, an 
effect which only takes an indignant form after encountering some- 
thing hostile, were something itself by nature hostile which wanted 
to defend an assailable property of its own, then we would have to 
say that shame is most of all characteristic of tyrants, or of girls 
who will not yield their charms except for money, or of vain women 
who want to fascinate. None of these love; their defense of their 
mortal body is the opposite of indignation about it; they ascribe an 
intrinsic worth to it and are shameless. 

A pure heart is not ashamed of love; but it is ashamed if its love 
is incomplete; it upbraids itself if there is some hostile power which 
hinders love's culmination. Shame enters only through the recollec- 
tion of the body, through the presence of an [exclusive] personality 
or the sensing of an [exclusive] individuality. It is not a fear for 
what is mortal, for what is merely one's own, but rather a fear of it, 
a fear which vanishes as the separable element in the lover is dimin- 
ished by his love. Love is stronger than fear. It has no fear of its 

7. [I.e., if a lover does not surrender himself completely to his beloved, he 
is as it were dividing himself into separate compartments and reserving one 
of them for himself.] 

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L.U V 



fear, but, led by its fear, it cancels separation, apprehensive as it is 
of finding opposition which may resist it or be a fixed barrier against 
it. It is a mutual giving and taking; through shyness its gifts may 
be disdained; through shyness an opponent may not yield to its re- 
ceiving; but it still tries whether hope has not deceived it, whether it 
still finds itself everywhere. The lover who takes is not thereby 
made richer than the other; he is enriched indeed, but only so 
much as the other is. So too the giver does not make himself 
poorer; by giving to the other he has at the same time and to the 
same extent enhanced his own treasure (compare Juliet in Romeo 
and Juliet [ii. 1. 175-77: "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, 
My love as deep;] the more I give to thee, The more I have"). 
This wealth of life love acquires in the exchange of every thought, 
every variety of inner experience, for it seeks out differences and 
devises unifications ad infinitum; it turns to the whole manifold of 
nature in order to drink love out of every life. What (381) in the 
first instance is most the individual's own is united into the whole 
in the lovers' touch and contact; consciousness of a separate self 
disappears, and all distinction between the lovers is annulled. The 
mortal element, the body, has lost the character of separability, and 
a living child, a seed of immortality, of the eternally self-develop- 
ing and self-generating [race], has come into existence. What has 
been united [in the child] is not divided again; [in love and through 
love] God has acted and created. 

This unity [the child], however, is only a point, [an undifferenti- 
ated unity,] a seed; the lovers cannot so contribute to it as to give 
it a manifold in itself at the start. Their union is free from all inner 
division; in it there is no working on an opposite. Everything 
which gives the newly begotten child a manifold life and a specific 
existence, it must draw into itself, set over against itself, and unify 
with itself. The seed breaks free from its original unity, turns 
ever more and more to opposition, and begins to develop. Each 
stage of its development is a separation, and its aim in each is to 
regain for itself the full riches of life [enjoyed by the parents] . Thus 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

the process is: unity, separated opposites, reunion. 8 After their 
union the lovers separate again, but in the child their union has be- 
come unseparated. 

This union in love is complete; but it can remain so only as long 
as the separate lovers are opposed solely in the sense that the one 
loves and the other is loved, i.e., that each separate lover is one 
organ in a living whole. Yet the lovers are in connection with much 
that is dead; external objects belong to each of them. This means 
that a lover stands in relation to things opposed to him in his own 
eyes as objects and opposites; this is why lovers are capable of a 
multiplex opposition in the course of their multiplex acquisition and 
possession of property and rights. The (382) dead object in the 
power of one of the lovers is opposed to both of them, and a union 
in respect of it seems to be possible only if it comes under the do- 
minion of both. The one who sees the other in possession of a prop- 
erty must sense in the other the separate individuality which has 
willed this possession. He cannot himself annul the exclusive do- 
minion of the other, for this once again would be an opposition to 
the other's power, since no relation to an object is possible except 
mastery over it; he would be opposing a mastery to the other's do- 
minion and would be canceling one of the other's relationships, 
namely, his exclusion of others from his property. Since possession 
and property make up such an important part of men's life, cares, 
and thoughts, even lovers cannot refrain from reflection on this 
aspect of their relations. Even if the use of the property is common 
to both, the right to its possession would remain undecided, and 
the thought of this right would never be forgotten, because every- 
thing which men possess has the legal form of property. But if the 
possessor gives the other the same right of possession as he has 
himself, community of goods is still only the right of one or other 
of the two to the thing. 

8. [Here Hegel added and afterward deleted the words : "The child is the 
parents themselves."] 



[308] 



IV 

FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM (1800) 1 

(345) Absolute opposition holds good 2 [in the realm of the dead.] 
One kind of opposition is to be found in the multiplicity of living 
beings. Living beings must be regarded as organizations. The mul- 
tiplicity of life has to be thought of as being divided against itself; 
one part (346) of this multiplicity (a part which is itself an infinite 
multiplicity because it is alive) is to be regarded purely as some- 
^ thing related, as having its being purely in union; the second part, 
also an infinite multiplicity, is to be regarded as solely in opposition, 
as having its being solely through a separation from the first. 
Therefore the first part [the unity] can also be defined as having 
its being only by means of separation from the second one. The 
unity is called an organization or an individual. It is self-evident 
that this life, whose manifold is regarded purely as being related 
and whose very existence is exactly this relation, can also be re- 
garded as being differentiated in itself, as a mere multiplicity, be- 
cause the relation between the separated is not more intrinsic to it 
than the separation between that which is related. On the other 

1. [Hegel's manuscript apparently consisted of forty-seven sheets, of which 
only the thirty-fourth and forty-seventh survive. In both of these he seems to 
be dealing with problems similar to those treated in The Spirit of Christianity, 
especially with the problem of unifying opposites eternal and temporal, God 
and man, subject and object, etc. opposites which reflective thinking has been 
unable to unite. The key to their union he finds in his conception of life. He 
holds that religion in its highest form conceives of God not as a mere object 
separated from man but as infinite life united with men who, as living beings, 
share in that life and can rise to its level in religious experience. Since these 
philosophico-religious problems occupy the whole of the extant manuscript, the 
title given to it by Nohl is somewhat misleading. It contains some of the seeds 
of the later system, but there is nothing to indicate that Hegel was writing the 
sketch of a system rather than a theological essay.] 

2. [The first sentence is fragmentary; the restoration of what is lost is pure- 
ly conjectural. The first paragraph deals with the problem of life as a multi- 
plicity of individual organisms, separated and yet united.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

hand, it must also be considered as capable of entering into relation 
with what is excluded from it, as capable of losing its individual- 
ity or being linked with what has been excluded. Similarly, the 
manifold itself, excluded from an organic whole and existing only 
as thus opposed [to it], must nevertheless be conceived, in itself 
and in abstraction from that organization, not only as absolutely 
manifold, yet at the same time itself internally related, but also as 
connected with the living whole which is excluded from it. 

The concept of individuality includes opposition to infinite vari- 
ety and also inner association with it. A human being is an individ- 
ual life in so far as he is to be distinguished from all the elements 
and from the infinity of individual beings outside himself. But he is 
only an individual life in so far as he is at one with all the elements, 
with the infinity of lives outside himself. He exists only inasmuch as 
the totality of life is divided into parts, he himself being one part and 
all the rest the other part; and again he exists only inasmuch as he 
is no part at all and inasmuch as nothing is separated from him. If we 
presuppose life undivided as fixed, then we can regard living beings as 
expressions or manifestations of that life. Precisely because these 
manifestations are posited, the infinite multiplicity of living beings 
is posited simultaneously, but reflection then crystallizes this mul- 
tiplicity into stable, subsistent, and fixed points, i.e., into individ- 
uals. 

If on the contrary we presuppose individual lives, namely, our- 
selves, as the spectators, then that life which is posited outside our 
own restricted spheres is an infinite life with an infinite variety, in- 
finite oppositions, infinite relations; as a multiplicity, it is an infinite 
multiplicity of organizations or individuals, and as a unity it is one 
unique organized whole, divided and unified in itself Nature. Na- 
ture is a positing of life, for reflection has applied to life its concepts 
of relation and (347) separation, of the self-subsistent particular 
(something restricted) and the unifying universal (something un- 
restricted), and by positing these has turned life into nature. 

Now because life, as an infinity of living beings or as an infinity 
of figures, is thus, as nature, an infinitely finite, an unrestricted re- 

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FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

strictedness, and because this union and this separation of the finite 
and the infinite are within nature, nature is not itself life but is only 
a life crystallized by reflection, even though it be treated by re- 
flection in the worthiest manner. 3 Therefore life in thinking and in 
contemplating nature still senses (or however else one may de- 
scribe the mode of apprehension involved) this contradiction, this 
one opposition which still exists between itself and the infinite life; 
or, in other words, reason still recognizes the one-sidedness of 
this mode of treating life and of this mode of positing [concepts] . 
Out of the mortal and perishable figure, out of what is self-opposed 
and self-antagonistic, this thinking life raises that living being, 
which would be free from transience; raises a relation between the 
multiplex elements which is not dead or killing, a relation which is 
not a [bare] unity, a conceptual abstraction, but is all-living and all- 
powerful infinite life; and this life it calls God. In this process it is 
no longer [merely] thinking or contemplating, because its object 
does not carry in itself anything reflected, anything dead. 4 

This self-elevation of man, not from the finite to the infinite (for 
these terms are only products of mere reflection, and as such their 
separation is absolute), but from finite life to infinite life, is reli- 
gion. We may call infinite life a spirit in contrast with the abstract 
multiplicity, for spirit is the living unity of the manifold if it is con- 
trasted with the manifold as spirit's configuration and not as a mere 
dead multiplicity; contrasted with the latter, spirit would be noth- 
ing but a bare unity which is called law and is something purely 
conceptual and not a living being. The spirit is an animating law in 
union with the manifold which is then itself animated. When man 

3. [This seems to refer to Schelling's philosophy of nature, which was in the 
focus of German idealism during 1797-99. For Schelling nature was of equal 
rank with Fichte's supreme principle, the absolute Ego. He understood nature 
not as a mechanical system but as a creative organism animated by a world 
soul, and to that extent he dealt with it "in the worthiest manner." But, even 
so, Hegel hints, Schelling was unable fully to unite the infinite and the finite. 
This criticism anticipates ideas expressed in The Difference between the Systems 
of Fichte and Schelling. See Introduction above, pp. 23-24.] 

4. [Here Hegel had added, and later canceled: "but worshiping" (its ob- 
ject).] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

takes this animated manifold as a multiplicity of many individuals, 
yet as connected with the animating spirit, then these single lives be- 
come organs, and the infinite whole becomes an infinite totality of 
life. When he takes the infinite life as the spirit of the whole and 
at the same time as a living [being] outside himself (since he him- 
self is restricted), and when he puts himself at the same time 
outside his restricted self in rising toward the living being and inti- 
mately uniting himself with him, then he worships God. 

Although the manifold is here no longer regarded as isolated 
(348) but is rather explicitly conceived as related to the living spir- 
it, as animated, as organ, still something remains excluded, namely, 
the dead, so that a certain imperfection and opposition persists. In 
other words, when the manifold is conceived as an organ only, op- 
position itself is excluded; but life cannot be regarded as union or re- 
lation alone but must be regarded as opposition as well. 6 If I say 
that life is the union of opposition and relation, this union may be 
isolated again, and it may be argued that union is opposed to non- 
union. Consequently, I would have to say: Life is the union of un- 
ion and nonunion. In other words, every expression whatsoever is a 
product of reflection, and therefore it is possible to demonstrate in 
the case of every expression that, when reflection propounds it, 
another expression, not propounded, is excluded. Reflection is thus 
driven on and on without rest; but this process must be checked 
once and for all by keeping in mind that, for example, what has been 
called a union of synthesis and antithesis is not something pro- 
pounded by the understanding or by reflection but has a character 
of its own, namely, that of being a reality beyond all reflection. 
Within the living whole there are posited at the same time death, 
opposition, and understanding, because there is posited a manifold 
that is alive itself and that, as alive, can posit itself as a whole. 6 By 

5. [We may think of the opposition between unity and manifold as over- 
come by the concept of the manifold organized into unity. But the opposition 
of life and nonlife, or of the organic and the inorganic, persists an opposition 
presupposed by the very concept of life.] 

6. [This statement, almost as dialectical as Hegel's later method, forecasts 
what Hutchison Stirling calls "the secret of Hegel" the reconciliation of un- 

[312] 



FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

so doing, it is at the same time a part, i.e., something for which 
there is something dead and which itself is something dead for 
other such parts. This partial character of the living being is tran- 
scended in religion; finite life rises to infinite life. It is only because 
the finite is itself life that it carries in itself the possibility of raising 
itself to infinite life. 

Philosophy therefore has to stop short of religion because it is a 
process of thinking and, as such a process, implies an opposition 
with nonthinking [processes] as well as the opposition between the 
thinking mind and the object of thought. Philosophy has to disclose 
the finiteness in all finite things and require their integration by 
means of reason. In particular, it has to recognize the illusions gen- 
erated by its own infinite and thus to place the true infinite outside 
its confines. 

The elevation of the finite to the infinite is only characterized as 
the elevation of finite life to infinite life, as religion, in virtue of the 
fact that it does not posit the reality of the infinite as a reality cre- 
ated by reflection, be it objective or subjective, i.e., it has not sim- 
ply added to the restricted that which restricts. If it had done so, 
the latter would be recognized again as something posited by reflec- 
tion and thereby itself restricted and would now again seek what 
restricts it and would postulate a continuation in such a way 
ad ihfinitum. Even this activity of reason is an elevation to the infi- 
nite, but this infinite is a 7 [false one.] 

(349) . . . . , 8 objective center. For all nations this center was 
the temple facing the east, and to the worshipers of an invisible 

derstanding with life. But still he believes that this reconciliation is reserved 
to religion. Philosophical reflection always "kills" life by distinguishing oppo- 
sitions, and it cannot give up those distinctions without killing itself. Desperate- 
ly but as yet unsuccessfully, Hegel gropes after a method which would under- 
stand life by both positing and uniting opposites. Nowhere else can the foun- 
tainhcad of Hegel's dialectic be better studied than in the intellectual struggle 
reflected in this paper.] 

7. [The manuscript breaks off here, at the end of sheet 34.] 

8. [Sheet 47, the conclusion of the original manuscript, begins in the middle 
of a sentence, and the interpretation of the first few paragraphs is hard because 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

God it was nothing but this shapeless special room, nothing but a 
place. 9 But this mere opposite, this purely objective and merely 
spatial center, must not necessarily remain in this imperfection of 
entire objectivity. It can itself, as being self-sustained, revert to its 
own subjectivity by becoming configurated. Divine emotion, the 
infinite sensed by the finite, is not integrated until reflection is 
added and dwells upon it. But the relation of reflection to emotion is 
only the recognition of it as something subjective, is only conscious- 
ness of feeling, in which reflection reflects on emotion but each is 
separate from the other. The pure spatial objectivity provides the 
unifying center for many, and the objectivity configurated is at the 
same time what it ought to be, namely, not an actual but only a 



we have no clue to what immediately preceded. But some light may perhaps be 
found elsewhere. In a fragment which Nohl prints in his Appendix, p. 367, 
Hegel writes: "If a spectator visits a temple and, without any feeling of piety, 
regards it purely as a building, it may fill him with a sense of sublimity; but 
then its walls are too narrow for him. He tries to give himself space by 
stretching his arms and raising his head to infinity. The confines of the building 
which had roused the sense of sublimity thus lose their importance for him and 
he demands something more, namely, infinity." In The Spirit of Christianity 
(see p. 192) there is a reference to the Holy of Holies in the Temple at 
Jerusalem. There was no concrete shape or figure to be an object of religious 
feeling, but only what Pompey regarded as an empty room. 

With these two passages in mind, we may perhaps conjecture that in this 
fragment Hegel is contrasting the worship of God as an object with the wor- 
ship of him as an infinite life in which the worshipers share. At the same time 
Hegel may be contrasting the temple or church as a mere object, four bare 
walls, with worship as a living whole, articulated into its elements the wor- 
shipers themselves, their devotion, and the external forms of their devotion, 
ritual, and architecture. Hegel's point seems to be that worship cannot be 
focused on God unless it is carried on in some specific place devoted to him. 
But this place will be formless and unadorned so long as God is conceived ab- 
stractly as merely an invisible infinite object. If instead God is conceived as 
infinite life, then the place changes its character; it loses its bare objectivity be- 
cause the worshipers express their devotion by adorning it (e.g., with images 
of the divine), and the act of worship becomes a union of object with subject 
a union achieved in the religious feelings of the worshipers as a union between 
man and God.] 

9. [Churches are oriented to the site of the original temple, which is thus a 
unifying center for all Christians, even though for the Jews the Holy of Holies 
was only an empty room in contrast with Greek temples adorned by statues of 
the gods.] 

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FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

potential objectivity because subjectivity is now linked with it. 
This objectivity configurated may be thought as an actual objectiv- 
ity, but this is not necessary, because it is certainly not pure [or 
abstract] objectivity. 

And thus, just as the antinomy of time was posited above 10 as 
necessary, namely, the antinomy between a moment and the time 
needed by life [for its actuality], so now the objective antinomy 
with respect to the thing confronting us is posited. The infinite 
being, filling the immeasurability of space, exists at the same time 
in a definite space, as is said, for instance, in the verse: 11 

He whom all heavens' heaven ne'er contained 
Lies now in Mary's womb. 

In the religious life both man's relation to objects and also his 
action were interpreted [above] as a preservation of the objects in 
life or as an animation of them, but man was also reminded of his 
destiny, which demands of him that he admit the existence of the 
objective as objective or even that he make the living being itself 
into an object. It may be that this objectification would last only 
for a moment and that life would withdraw again from the object, 
free itself from it, and would leave the oppressed 12 to its own life 
and to its resuscitation. But it is necessary that life should also put 
itself into a permanent relation with objects and thus maintain their 
objectivity even up to the point of completely destroying them. 

Even in all the increased religious union disclosed by the above- 
mentioned acts of integration [in worship] hypocrisy may still ex- 
ist, namely, owing to one's retention of a particular property for 
one's self. If he kept things firmly in his own grasp, man would 
not yet have fulfilled the negative prerequisites of religion, i.e., 
would not yet be free from absolute objectivity and would not yet 

10. [I.e., in the part of the manuscript which is lost.] 

1 1 . [Taken, with a slight change, from a hymn by Martin Luther, beginning 
u Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ."] 

12. [I.e., the living being, oppressed by being treated merely as an object.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

have risen above finite life. He would still be unable to unite him- 
self with the infinite life because he would have kept something for 
himself; he would still be in a state of mastering things or caught in 
a dependence upon them. This is the reason why he gives up only 
part of his property as a sacrifice, for it is his fate to possess prop- 
erty, and this fate is necessary and (350) can never be discarded. 
In God's sight man destroys part of his property [on the altar]. 
The rest he destroys to some extent by taking away as far as pos- 
sible its character as private property and sharing it with his 
friends. The destruction of property [on the altar] is an additional 
negation of private ownership because such destruction is useless 
and superfluous. Only through this uselessness of destroying, 
through this destroying for destroying' s sake, does he make good 
the destruction which he causes for his own particular purposes. At 
the same time he has consummated the objectivity of the objects by 
a destruction unrelated to his own purposes, by that complete nega- 
tion of relations which is called death. This aimless destruction for 
destruction's sake sometimes happens, even if the necessity of a 
purposive destruction of objects remains, and it proves to be the 
only religious relation to absolute objects. 

It only needs to be briefly mentioned that the remaining ex- 
ternal surroundings, 13 as necessary confines, should not so much 
entertain [the devout] by their useless beauty as hint at something 
else by purposive embellishment, and further that it is the essence 
of worship to cancel the intuitive or thoughtful contemplation of an 
objective God, or rather to blend this attitude with the joyful sub- 
jectivity of living beings, of song, or of motions of rhe body, a 
sort of subjective expression which like the solemn oration can be- 
come objective and beautiful by rules, namely: dance; or offer 
words with a manifold of observances, the due ordering of offer- 
ings, sacrifices, and so on. Moreover, this variety of expressions, 
and of those whose expressions they are, demands unity and order 
which come alive in someone who orders and commands, i.e., a 

1 3. [I.e., the temple or church where worship is carried on.] 

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FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

priest, who himself has a separate position of his own if man's ex- 
ternal life has been split into separate compartments for the fulfil- 
ment of his many needs. There is no need to mention other conse- 
quences and the means of completely realizing them. 

This more perfect union in the realm of religion is not absolutely 
necessary because it consists in such an elevation of finite life to in- 
finite life that as little as possible of the finite and restricted, i.e., of 
the merely objective or merely subjective, remains, and that every 
opposition springing from this elevation and integration is reinte- 
grated. Religion is any elevation of the finite to the infinite, when 
the infinite is conceived as a definite form of life. Some such eleva- 
tion is necessary because the finite depends on the infinite. But the 
stage of opposition and unification on which the determinate nature 
of one generation of men persists is accidental in respect to inde- 
terminate nature. 14 The most perfect integration [or completion] is 
possible in the case of peoples whose life is as little as possible sepa- 
rated and disintegrated, i.e., in the case of happy peoples. Unhappy 
peoples cannot reach that stage, but they, living in a state of separa- 
tion, must take anxious care for the preservation of one member 
[of the whole], i.e., for their own independence. They are not (351) 
permitted to abandon the quest for this independence; their highest 
pride must be to cling to separation and maintain the existence of 
the unit [whose independence is in question]. 15 

One may consider this situation from the side of subjectivity as 
independence, or from the other side as an alien, remote, inaccessi- 
ble object. Both seem to be compatible with one another, although 
it is necessary that, the stronger the separation is, the purer must 
the Ego be and the further must the object be removed from and 

14. [Religion raises accidental features of experience to the level of abso- 
lute significance. Peoples still living in paradisaical unity with "indeterminate* * 
nature are free to select any features of their finite experience for religious ex- 
altation and sanctification. Their status is that of the mythological conscious- 
ness.] 

15. [This contrast between happy and unhappy peoples may refer to that 
between the Greeks and the Israelites.] 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

above man. The greater and the more isolated the inner sphere, the 
greater and the more isolated is the outer sphere also, and if the lat- 
ter is regarded as the self-subsistent, the more subjugated man must 
appear. But it is precisely this being mastered by the immeasurably 
great object which is steadily retained as man's relation to the ob- 
ject; it does not matter what mode of consciousness man prefers, 
whether that of fearing a God who, being infinite and beyond the 
heaven of heavens, exalted above all connection and all relation- 
ship, hovers all-powerful above all nature; or that of placing himself 
as pure Ego 16 above the ruins of this body and the shining suns, 
above the countless myriads of heavenly spheres, above the ever 
new solar systems as numerous as ye all are, ye shining suns. 17 

When the separation is infinite, it does not matter which re- 
mains fixed, the subject or the object; but in either case the opposi- 
tion persists, the opposition of the absolutely finite to the absolutely 
infinite. In either case the elevation of finite to infinite life would be 
only an elevation over finite life; the infinite would only be the 
completely integrated in so far as it was opposed to the totality, 
i.e., to the infinity of the finite. The opposition would not be over- 
come in a beautiful union; the union would be frustrated, and op- 
position would be a hovering of the Ego over all nature, a depend- 
ence upon, or rather a relation to, a Being beyond all nature. This 
religion 18 can be sublime and awful, but it cannot be beautifully hu- 
mane. And hence the blessedness enjoyed by the Ego which op- 
poses itself to everything and has thus brought everything under 
its feet is a phenomenon of the time, at bottom equivalent to the 
phenomenon of dependence on an absolutely alien being which 

16. [The two imperfect types of integration between infinite and finite 
which Hegel distinguishes here are (a) Judaism (for which see i of The Spirit 
of Christianity) and () Fichte's philosophy of the pure Ego.] 

17. [The last words seem to be quoted, but it was not possible to trace 
them to their source.] 

18. [I.e., Christianity as inheriting Judaism and as contrasted with the 
beautiful union in Greek religion. Or the contrast is perhaps between the beau- 
ty of the teaching of Jesus (especially as interpreted in The Spirit of Christian- 
ity) and the renewed outbreak of oppositions in the development of the Chris- 
tian church (see the close of The Spirit of Christianity) .] 

[318] 



FRAGMENT OF A SYSTEM 

cannot become man, or if it did become man (namely, at a point in 
time) would, even in this union [between eternal and temporal, in- 
finite and finite], remain something absolutely specialized, i.e., 
would remain just an absolute unit. Nevertheless, this blessedness 
may be man's worthiest and noblest achievement if the union [of 
the eternal] with the temporal were ignoble and ignominious. 19 

14 September 1800 

19. [The meaning of these somewhat obscure words may be as follows. The 
"blessedness enjoyed by the ego" refers to Fichte's philosophy of the absolute 
ego. Hegel characterizes this philosophy as "a phenomenon of the time" 
rather than an eternal truth. Fichte's position with its total separation of Ego 
and world resembles biblical theism. The overcoming of this separation by the 
Incarnation is confined to the historical Jesus and fails to achieve the absolute 
union of time and eternity. Should this unification by means of an all-embracing 
speculative system be impossible, then Fichte's system would be the worthiest 
achievement of the human mind. See above, p. 23.] 



[319] 



APPENDIX 

ON CLASSICAL STUDIES 

The spirit and purpose of our foundation is preparation for 
learned study, a preparation grounded on Greece and Rome. For 
more than a thousand years this has been the soil on which all 
civilization has stood, from which it has sprung, and with which 
it has been in continuous connection. Just as the natural organisms, 
plants and animals, struggle to free themselves from gravitation 
without being able to renounce this element of their own nature, 
so the fine arts and the sciences have grown up on that soil, and, 
while they have attained a self-subsistence of their own, they have 
not yet emancipated themselves from the recollection of that older 
culture. As Antaeus renewed his energies by touching his mother- 
earth, so every new impetus and invigoration of science and learn- 
ing has emerged into the daylight from a return to antiquity. 

But, however important the preservation of this soil is, the modi- 
fication of the relation between antiquity and modern times is no 
less essential. When once the insufficiency and the disadvantage of 
old principles and institutions is recognized together with the in- 
sufficiency of all former erudition and instruction based upon those 
principles, our mind first superficially reacts by demanding their 
complete rejection and abolition. But the wisdom of our govern- 

1 . [The speech here translated was delivered by Hegel as rector of the 
Gymnasium (i.e., a high school as distinct from a technical school) at Nurem- 
berg on September 29, 1809, at the end of the school year. The opening and 
closing paragraphs, which dealt with matters of school organization and prog- 
ress, have here been omitted. The translation has been made from the text in 
the collected edition of Hegel's works published after his death, Vol. XVI, pp. 
133 flf. Reference has also been made to the text published by J. HorTmeister in 
Hfgels Nurnberger Schriften (Leipzig, 1938), pp. 303 fT. The partial translation 
by Millicent Mackenzie in her Hegel's Educational Theory and Practice (London, 
1909) has been helpful in certain passages.] 

[321] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

ment [in reorganizing education] has risen superior to such an easy- 
going method, and it has fulfilled the requirements of the time in the 
truest way by modifying the relation of the old principles to the 
new world; thus it preserves their essential features no less than it 
alters and rejuvenates them. 

I need only remind you in a few words of the well-known posi- 
tion which the learning of the Latin language formerly had. It was 
not regarded simply as one element in education but was rather its 
most essential part and the only means of higher education offered 
to a pupil who refused to be satisfied with the general rudimentary 
instruction. There were hardly any educational arrangements ex- 
pressly for acquiring knowledge useful to practical life or worthy in 
itself. The pupil was given the opportunity of learning Latin, and 
on the whole it depended on his use of that opportunity whether he 
picked up any knowledge of a practical kind, and, if so, how much. 
This other knowledge was thought of as acquired by a special art, 
not as a general means of education, and for the most part it was 
hidden in the shell of Latin instruction. 

A unanimous objection was raised against that learning of Latin 
which had become obsolete. In particular, the feeling was produced 
that a nation cannot be deemed civilized if it cannot express all the 
treasures of science in its own language, if it cannot move freely in 
that language whatever the topic discussed. The intimacy which 
characterizes the possession of our own language is lacking in the 
knowledge which we possess in a foreign language only. Such a 
knowledge is separated from us by a barrier which prevents it from 
genuinely coming home to our minds. 

This new outlook, together with deficient methods which often 
degenerated into a merely mechanical procedure, and the failure to 
acquire much important knowledge and many important intellec- 
tual accomplishments, has step by step destroyed the claim of Latin 
learning to be the citadel of all sciences. This learning has lost the 
dignity so long claimed for it, the dignity of being the universal 
and almost the sole foundation of education. It has ceased to be con- 
sidered as an end in itself; and this mental discipline has been com- 

[322] 



ON CLASSICAL STUDIES 

pelled to see triumphing over it things not fitted for the purposes of 
education, among them mere matters of fact and everyday experi- 
ence. Without entering into a discussion of this contrast and its 
consequences, its exaggerations or obvious incoherences, I may 
confine myself to expressing our joy at the wisdom of our govern- 
ment in handling this problem. 

First of all, it has enlarged the general system of civil education 
by improving the German elementary schools. In this way it has 
been made possible for everyone to learn what is essential for every 
human being and what is useful for every social position. To those 
who up to now missed a better education, this is now granted, while 
those who were compelled to learn Latin, in order to obtain some- 
thing better than the inadequate elementary instruction, are now 
enabled to acquire abilities and knowledge better adapted to their 
special purposes, and Latin is not so indispensable for them. This 
city looks forward to the completion here of the beneficial organi- 
zation which has already been achieved in the greater part of the 
kingdom [of Bavaria] . The important consequences of this benefit 
for the whole country are almost incalculable. 

Secondly, the study of the sciences and the acquisition of higher 
intellectual and practical abilities independently of the ancient litera- 
tures is now made fully possible in a sister-institute dedicated to 
this purpose alone. 

Thirdly, the study of the ancient languages is preserved. For one 
thing, it is open as before to everyone as a means of higher educa- 
tion; for another it is now consolidated as the fundamental basis of 
scholarly learning. Thus it has lost its exclusive character, because 
it now takes its place alongside those other modes of education and 
methods of attaining science, and in this way it may have extin- 
guished the hatred aroused by its former arrogance. Thus as one 
separate discipline alongside others, it has all the more right to de- 
mand that it shall be given free scope and that henceforward it shall 
remain less troubled by alien and disturbing intrusions. 

By this segregation and restriction it has obtained its true posi- 
tion and the opportunity of a freer and fuller development. The 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

genuine mark of the freedom and strength of an organization con- 
sists in the opportunity granted to its various branches to develop 
their own peculiar existence and thus make themselves self-depend- 
ent systems. In such a way they can work side by side and look at 
each other's work without envy or fear, while at the same time they 
are integrated as no more than parts of one great system. It is only 
when a thing is segregated and when it carries out its own principle 
to completeness in segregation that it is able to become a consistent 
whole, i.e., "something"; it gains depth and the vigorous potential- 
ity of many-sidedness. Solicitude and anxiety about one-sidedness 
too frequently betray a weakness which generates nothing but a 
many-sided and inconsistent .superficiality. 

Now, if the study of the ancient languages remains as before the 
basis of learned knowledge, it fulfils many claims even when it is 
restricted in the way just described. It seems to be a just demand 
that the civilization, art, and science of a nation should manage to 
stand on its own feet. Are we not entitled to assume that the 
achievements of modern times, our illumination and the progress 
of all arts and sciences, have worn out the Greek and Roman gar- 
ments of their childhood and outgrown their leading-strings, so 
that they can now advance on their own territory without hin- 
drance? The works of the ancients might on this view always pos- 
sess an educational value of their own, highly rated by some, less 
highly by others, but they would have to be ranked with memories 
and superfluous learned antiquities, with things of merely historical 
import. Such things might be accepted or rejected within our higher 
education, but they should not, on this view, function any longer as 
its foundation and basis. 

However, if we agree that excellence should be our starting- 
point, then the foundation of higher study must be and remain 
Greek literature in the first place, Roman in the second. The per- 
fection and glory of those masterpieces must be the spiritual bath, 
the secular baptism that first and indelibly attunes and tinctures the 
soul in respect of taste and knowledge. For this initiation a general, 
perfunctory acquaintance with the ancients is not sufficient; we 

[324] 



ON CLASSICAL STUDIES 

must take up our lodging with them so that we can breathe their 
air, absorb their ideas, their manners, one might even say their 
errors and prejudices, and become at home in this world the fair- 
est that ever has been. While the first paradise was that of human 
nature^ this is the second, the higher paradise of the human spirit, 
the paradise where the human spirit emerges like a bride from her 
chamber, endowed with a fairer naturalness, with freedom, depth, 
and serenity. The first wild glory of its dawn in the east is re- 
strained by the grandeur of form and tamed into beauty. The hu- 
man spirit manifests its profundity here no longer in confusion, 
gloom, or arrogance, but in perfect clarity. Its serenity is not like 
the play of children; it is rather a veil spread over the melancholy 
which is familiar with the cruelty of fate but is not thereby driven 
to lose its freedom and moderation. I do not believe I claim too 
much when I say that he who has never known the works of the 
ancients has lived without knowing what beauty is. 

If we make ourselves at home in such an element, all the powers 
of the soul are stimulated, developed, and exercised; and, further, 
this element is a unique material through which we enrich ourselves 
and improve the very substance of our being. 

It has been said that activity of mind can be trained on any mate- 
rial, but best of all by external, useful, and visible objects which are 
supposed to be most appropriate to the age of youth or childhood, 
since they pertain to the compass and manner of mental develop- 
ment peculiar to this age. 

One may doubt whether or not form and matter training in it- 
self and the objective circle of things on which we are trained can 
be separated as if they had nothing to do with each other; but, even 
so, training as such is not the only thing that matters. As the plant 
not only trains its reproductive energies by enjoying light and air, 
but also absorbs its nourishment by this process, so likewise that 
subject matter which the intellect and our other physical faculties 
use in developing and training themselves must at the same time be 
their nourishment. This subject matter is not the sort of material 
which is called "useful," i.e., the sensuous material which is the 

[325] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

object of immediate sense perception to the child; on the contrary, 
it is only the content of mind, a content of intrinsic value and inter- 
est, which strengthens the soul. This content alone provides the in- 
dependence and firmness, the essential inwardness which is the 
mother of self-control and self-possession, of presence and vigilance 
of mind; it generates in the soul thus prepared and educated a 
kernel of self-dependent value, of absolute ends, which alone is the 
precondition of all usefulness in life and which it is important to 
plant in all citizens of all walks of life. Have we not seen in our own 
times that even states become unsteady, expose themselves to dan- 
gers and collapse, despite plenty of valuable resources, just because 
they had neglected and disdained to preserve such an inner citadel 
in the soul of their citizens, and because they were interested in 
profit alone and directed their citizens to treat things spiritual as 
mere means? 

The works of the ancients contain the most noble food in the 
most noble form: golden apples in silver bowls. They are incom- 
parably richer than all the works of any other nation and of any 
other time. The greatness of their sentiments, their statuesque vir- 
tue free from moral ambiguity, their patriotism, the grand manner 
of their deeds and characters, the multiplicity of their destinies, of 
their morals and constitutions to recall these is enough to vindi- 
cate the assertion that in the compass of no other civilization was 
there ever united so much that was splendid, admirable, original, 
many-sided, and instructive. 

These riches, however, are intimately connected with the lan- 
guage, and only through and in it do we obtain them in all their 
special significance. Their content can be approximately given us by 
translations, but not their form, not their ethereal soul. Transla- 
tions are like artificial roses which may resemble natural ones in 
shape, color, and perhaps even scent, but which cannot attain their 
loveliness, delicacy, and softness of life. Whatever daintiness and 
refinement the copy has belongs to the copy alone, and in the copy 
the contrast between the content and the form that has not grown 
up with the content makes itself felt unmistakably. The language is 

[326] 



ON CLASSICAL STUDIES 

the musical element, the element of intimacy that fades away in the 
translation; it is the fine fragrance which makes possible the read- 
er's sympathetic enjoyment of the ancient work and without which 
that work tastes like Rhine wine that has lost its flavor. 

This fact lays on us what may seem the hard necessity of study- 
ing the ancient languages thoroughly and making them familiar to 
us as a prelude to enjoying their works to the greatest possible ex- 
tent in all their aspects and excellences. To complain about the 
trouble we have to undergo in learning the languages, and to regret 
or to fear that we have thus to neglect the learning of other things 
and the training of other abilities means to find fault with fate be- 
cause it has not given us this collection of classical works in our 
own language. Only if we possessed them in our own tongue w r ould 
we possess a substitute for antiquity and be spared the laborious 
journey thither. 

After having spoken about the content of education, I wish to 
add some words about the form which its nature entails. 

The progress of culture must not be regarded as the quiet con- 
tinuation of a chain in which the new links, though attached to the 
older ones without incongruity, are made of fresh material, and the 
work of forging them is not directed by what has been done be- 
fore. On the contrary, culture must have earlier material on which 
it works and which it changes and modifies. It is necessary that we 
appropriate the world of antiquity not only to possess it, but even 
more to digest and transform it. 

But the substance of Nature and Spirit must have confronted us, 
must have taken the shape of something alien to us, before it can 
become our object. Unhappy he whose immediate world of feelings 
has been alienated from him for this means nothing less than the 
snapping of those bonds of faith, love, and trust which unite heart 
and head with life in a holy friendship. The alienation which is the 
condition of theoretical erudition does not require this moral pain, 
or the sufferings of the heart, but only the easier pain and strain of 
the imagination which is occupied with something not given in im- 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

mediate experience, something foreign, something pertaining to 
recollection, to memory and the thinking mind. 

The demand for this separation, however, is so necessary that 
everyone knows it as a familiar and common impulse. What is 
strange, and far away, attracts our interest and lures us to activity 
and effort: it seems to be the more desirable the more remote it is 
and the less we have in common with it. The youth enjoys the 
prospect of leaving his native country and living like Robinson 
Crusoe on a distant island. It is a necessary illusion to begin by mis- 
taking distance for profundity; in fact, the depth and strength to 
which we attain can be measured only by the distance between the 
point to which we were fleeing and the center in which we were en- 
grossed at first and to which we shall finally return again. 

This centrifugal force of the soul explains why the soul must al- 
ways be provided with the means of estranging itself from its nat- 
ural condition and essence, and why in particular the young mind 
must be led into a remote and foreign world. Now, the screen best 
suited to perform this task of estrangement for the sake of educa- 
tion is the world and language of the ancients. This world separates 
us from ourselves, but at the same time it grants us the cardinal 
means of returning to ourselves : we reconcile ourselves with it and 
thereby find ourselves again in it, but the self which we then find 
is the one which accords with the tone and universal essence of 
mind. 

If we apply to school education the general principle of this nec- 
essary process, which entails learning the ideas of the ancients as 
well as their language, it becomes evident that the mechanical side 
of this learning is not just a necessary evil. For it is the mechanical 
that is foreign to the mind, and it is this which awakens the mind's 
desire to digest the indigestible food forced upon it, to make in- 
telligible what is at first without life and meaning, and to assimilate 
it. 

Besides, with the mechanical elements in linguistic study there is 
closely connected the grammatical study whose value cannot be too 
highly assessed, for it constitutes the beginning of logical training. 

[328] 



ON CLASSICAL STUDIES 

I mention this aspect last because it seems to be almost sunk in ob- 
livion. Grammar, I mean, has for its content the categories, the spe- 
cial products and concepts of the understanding : in learning gram- 
mar, therefore, the understanding itself first becomes learned. These 
intellectual essentials, with which grammar first makes us ac- 
quainted, are something very easy for youth to grasp; in fact, 
nothing in the world of mind can be grasped more easily. While 
youth does not yet possess the power of comprehending the mani- 
fold sides of intellectual riches, those abstractions are quite simple. 
They are as it were the single letters, or rather the vowels, of the 
intellectual realm; we have to begin with them in order first to 
spell and later to read the language of mind. 

Furthermore, grammar expounds the categories of the under- 
standing in a fashion adapted to youth, because it teaches them by 
distinguishing them with the help of external marks mostly granted 
by the language itself. Knowledge of the categories thus accom- 
plished is somewhat better than the knowledge of colors like red or 
blue which everyone can distinguish without being able to define 
them according to Newton's hypothesis or some other theory. It 
is of the utmost importance to have paid attention to these logical 
distinctions. Since the categories of the understanding are present 
in us because we are intellectual beings, and since we therefore un- 
derstand them immediately, the first step in erudition consists in 
our really possessing them, i.e., in having made them the objects of 
our consciousness and having become capable of distinguishing 
them by means of characteristic marks. 

Grammatical terminology teaches us how to move in the realm of 
abstractions. This study consequently can be looked on as a pre- 
liminary instruction in philosophy. This is the reason why it is es- 
sentially regarded not only as a means, but also as an end, in the 
Latin as much as in the German language classes. The general 
superficiality and frivolity which only the tremendous gravity and 
impact of the political revolutions in our days was able to over- 
come had perverted the relation between means and ends in the 
field of linguistic studies as much as in all other fields: the material 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

knowledge of a language was higher esteemed than its rational as- 
pect. 

Grammatical learning of an ancient language affords the advan- 
tage of necessarily implying a continuous and sustained activity of 
reason. In speaking our mother-tongue, unreflective habit leads us 
to speak grammatically; but with an ancient language it is other- 
wise and we have to keep in view the significance which the intel- 
lect has given to the parts of speech and call to our aid the rules 
of their combination. Therefore a perpetual operation of subsum- 
ing the particular under the general and of specifying the general 
has to take place, and it is just in this that the activity of reason con- 
sists. Strict grammatical study is accordingly one of the most uni- 
versal and noble forms of intellectual education. 

Study of the ancients in their own language and grammatical in- 
struction together constitute the fundamental principle character- 
istic of our institution. This important benefit though rich enough in 
itself does not comprise the whole range of knowledge to which our 
preparatory institute is an introduction. The classical authors to be 
read are so selected that the content of their writings is itself in- 
structive, but, apart from this, the school offers lessons about other 
subjects which have a value in themselves or are particularly useful 
or beautiful. I only need to mention these subjects here; their com- 
pass, their treatment, their order and gradation, and their relation 
to other subjects can be learned from the schedule that will be pub- 
lished and distributed. These subjects are, in general : religion, Ger- 
man (including our classics), arithmetic, followed by algebra, 
geometry, geography, history, physiography (comprising cosmog- 
raphy, natural history, and physics), elements of philosophy, 
French, Hebrew for future theologians, drawing and calligraphy. 
How little these subjects are neglected can be seen from a simple 
calculation: if we omit the last four subjects, the time given to the 
lessons in those first mentioned is exactly as long as that given to 
the ancient languages, but if we add those four subjects, then the 
classical studies comprise not even one-half, but only two-fifths of 
the whole curriculum. 

[330] 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

I. BOOKS BY HEGEL 

The beginner approaching Hegel's work and wondering where and how 
to begin finds himself confronted with three classes of books, briefly de- 
scribed in the following survey. 

There is no royal road to an understanding of Hegel, nor is it possible 
to single out one or several of his works as affording a natural introduction 
to the system. Hegel himself warns the reader not to expect so easy an en- 
trance. In the Encyclopedia (Introduction, sec. 17) he compares his philos- 
ophy with a circle or a movement that returns upon itself: every point of 
departure is also a terminus, every first step a result of the movement of 
thought as a whole. 

Although the study of Hegel must begin as an adventure, it need not 
be an adventure in uncharted waters. To help the beginner avoid unneces- 
sary risks, this bibliographical note provides a few sea-marks. 

A. EARLY WRITINGS RECENTLY PUBLISHED 

Interest in Hegel's intellectual growth was stimulated by WILHELM 
DILTHEY'S Die Jugendgeschichte Hegels (1905) and resulted in the publica- 
tion of previously ignored material. By far the most important of these 
publications is Hegels theologische Jugendschriften, ed. HERMAN NOHL 
(Tubingen, 1907). The present volume provides a translation of the main 
body of Kohl's text, only sketches of little philosophical significance being 
omitted. 

The Jugendschriften was followed by two as yet untranslated publica- 
tions: Hegels Jenenser Logik, ed. GEORG LASSON (Leipzig, 1923), and Hegels 
Jenenser Realphilosophie, ed. JOHANNES HOFFMEISTER (2 vols.; Leipzig, 
1932). 

Apart from their historical interest the early theological writings espe- 
cially "The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate" (this volume, pp. 182-301), 
may serve as an introduction to the study of Hegel's philosophy. 

B. WRITINGS PUBLISHED BY HEGEL 

Every serious study of Hegel must be based on the great works of this 
group. It is advisable to begin with the Encyclopedia or the Philosophy of 
Right rather than with the unwieldy Science of Logic. The Phenomenology, 

[331] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

although planned by Hegel as an introductory exposition, is to a beginner 
more discouraging than any of the other writings. 

Phenomenology of Mind, trans. J. B. BAILLIE (2d ed.; London, 1931). 
*The Science of Logic, trans. W. H. JOHNSTON and L. G. STRUTHERS (New 

York, 1929). 
Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences in Outline, trans. W. WALLACE (with 

the exception of the middle part, the "Philosophy of Nature") under the 

titles: *The Logic of Hegel (Oxford, 1892) and *HegeTs Philosophy 

of Mind (Oxford, 1894). 
Philosophy of Right, trans, with notes by T. M. KNOX (Oxford, 1942). 

Not included in this list are a number of shorter essays as yet untranslated. 

C. LECTURES PUBLISHED BY HIS PUPILS AFTER HEGEL*S DEATH 

The lectures are more readable and more easily understood than the 
works published by Hegel himself. Where the original books give a bare 
outline, the lectures add an abundance of illustrative material. They are 
therefore justly popular with students of Hegel. However, two facts about 
the lectures must be borne in mind: (a) They were not published by 
Hegel himself, and their authenticity in detail is not beyond doubt; (b) 
the translations of the lectures are based upon the text, now partly obso- 
lete, of the first edition of Hegel's collected works (19 vols.; Berlin, 1832- 
45 and 1887, reprinted with few changes as JubUaumsausgabe, 20 vols.; 
Stuttgart, 1927-30). In the meantime, most of the lectures have been in- 
cluded in Georg Lasson's revised and, on the whole, more faithful edition 
(Leipzig: F. Meiners 'Philosophische Bibliothek) . 

*Philosophy of History, trans. T. SIBREE (New York, 1899). As these lec- 
tures show, the fruitfulness of dialectic is particularly evident in its ap- 
plication to history. The Introduction, one of the finest documents of 
Hegel's thought, is found also in Hegel, Selections, ed. J. LOEWENBERG 
("Modern Student's Library" [New York, 1929]). Rev. ed. New York: 
Willey Book Co., 1944. 

^Philosophy of Fine An, trans. F. P. B. OSMASTON (4 vols.; London, 1920) . 
Excels the other lectures by fulness of argument, wealth of illustration, 
and balance of presentation. 

^Philosophy of Religion, trans. E. B. SPEIRS and J. B. SANDERSON (3 vols.; 
London, 1895). The germinal problems of Hegel's philosophy belong 
in the field of the philosophy of religion. The lectures treat these prob- 
lems as a part of the folly developed system. 

*History of Philosophy, trans. E. S. HALDANE (London, 1892-95). These 
lectures mark the beginning of the study of the history of philosophical 
ideas in the modern sense. 

* Editions marked with an asterisk are out of print. 

[332] 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

II. SOME BOOKS ABOUT HEGEL 

For a comprehensive bibliography see the French translation of the 
book by Croce mentioned below (Paris, 1910), pp. 179-245. For works 
published since 1910, see Ueberweg, Gnmdriss der Geschichte der Philosophic, 
IV (12th ed,; Berlin, 1923), 678-81, and Idealismus, I (Zurich, 1934), 
252-56. 

A. GENERAL WORKS 

CAIRO, EDWARD. Hegel. Philadelphia, 1883. Concise and clear, confined to 
an outline. Stress is laid on Hegel's relation to his immediate predeces- 
sors. Still the best introduction in English to Hegel's work. 

CROCE, BENEDETTO. What Is Living and What Is Dead in the Philosophy of 
Hegel; trans. D. AINSLIE. London, 1925. A forceful and clear statement. 
The dichotomy indicated by the title is carried through with some 
violence. 

HIBBEN, J. G. Hegel's Logic. New York, 1902. An invaluable study of the 
logical basis of Hegel's work, with an excellent glossary explaining 
Hegel's technical terms. Very clearly and incisively written. 

MURE, G. R. G. An Introduction to Hegel. Oxford, 1940. Exposition of 
Hegel's system against Aristotle's philosophy as a foil. Useful for ad- 
vanced students conversant with Greek metaphysics. 

ROYCE, JOSIAH. Spirit of Modem Philosophy, pp. 190-227. Boston and New 
York, 1899. A spirited chapter on Hegel's philosophy. Useful particu- 
larly for a first orientation. Of equal value is the same writer's Lectures 
on Modern Idealism (New Haven, 1923), pp. 136-231. 

STAGE, W. T. The Philosophy of Hegel: A Synthetic Exposition. London, 
1924. A comprehensive and detailed summary of Hegel's mature sys- 
tem. Unnecessary technicalities are studiously avoided. A good intro- 
duction to Hegel's system, but it ignores Hegel's early work. 

STIRLING, J. H. The Secret of Hegel. London, 1865. The book that introduced 
Hegel to England. The dithyrambic style is a deterrent to the modern 
reader. 

WALLACE, W. Prolegomena to the Study ofHegePs Philosophy. 2d ed. Oxford, 
1 894. The emphasis is on Hegel's logic. Very valuable but not easy read- 
ing. 

B. ON THE EARLY WRITINGS AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 

Since there are few books in English dealing with the early writings, 
some German works are included. 

ADAMS, G. P. The Mystical Element in Hegel's Early Theological Writings. 
Berkeley, 1910. A brief but helpful survey of the early theological writ- 
ings. 

DILTHEY, WILHELM. Die Jugmdgeschichte Hegels. Berlin, 1906. In Gesam- 
melte Schriften, IV (Berlin-Leipzig, 1921), 1-187. This essay marks th 

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EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 

beginning of the modern study of the development of Hegel's philoso- 
phy. The early theological writings are subjected to a subtle analysis. 

GRAY, J. G. HegeVs Hellenic Ideal. New York, 1941. A valuable study, 
partly based on Hegel's early theological writings. However, the fruit- 
ful tension between Hegel's philhellenic enthusiasm and his theological 
conviction is not clearly seen. 

HAERING, T. L. Hegel, sein Wollen wd sein Werk: Eine chronologische Ent- 
ivicklimgsgeschichte der Gedanken und der Sprache Hegels. 2 vols. Leipzig 
and Berlin, 1929-38. All available material is conscientiously worked 
up into a comprehensive account of Hegel's intellectual history. Next 
to Dilthey, the most important attempt at an interpretation of the early 
theological writings. 

LION, A. The Idealistic Conception of Religion. Oxford, 1932. Contains (pp. 
65-133) an interesting theory of Hegel's later philosophy of religion 
but unfortunately ignores the early writings. 

McTAGGART, J. M. E. Studies in Hegelian Cosmology. Cambridge, 1918. A 
searching analysis of some of the basic religious concepts in Hegel such 
as sin, punishment, and selfhood. 

MARCUSE, HERBERT. Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social 
Theory. London and New York, 1941. The first part is a penetrating 
historical study of Hegel's philosophy (pp. 1-248). Chapter I (pp. 30- 
42) is devoted to the early theological writings. Written from a Marxian 
point of view. 

WACKER, HERBERT. Das Verhaltnis des jungen HegelzuKant.Eerlin, 1932. 
Instructive and conscientious analysis of the intricate problems indi- 
cated by the title. 



[334] 



INDEX 



Aaron, 189, 190n., 198n. 

Abraham, 182, 183n., 185-89,223, 302 

Aeschylus, 41 

Agamemnon, 148 

Alcibiades, 148 

Alexander the Great, 146 

Alexander Polyhistor, 1 84 n. 

Ambrose, St., 165 

America, 94, 131, 168 

Angels, 269-70 

Antaeus, 321 

Anthony of Egypt, St., 1 65 

Anthony of Padua, St., 73, 175 

Apelles, 148 

Apollo, 252 

Arabs, the, 248, 260 

Aristotle, 4, 32, 57, 305 n. 

Asceticism, 136-42 

Athens, 147, 155, 197 

Atonement, doctrine of the, 226 n. 

Augsburg, Peace of, 1 24 n. 

Augsburg Confession, 147 

Authority, conception of, 174 

Babylon, 1 84 n. 

Banquo, 229 

Baptism, 84, 106, 109, 117, 126, 274, 

275-77 

Baumgarten, S. G., 214 n., 305 n. 
Bavaria, education in, 322-24 
Beautiful soul, the, 234-37 
Begriff (concept), 59 
Beguines, the, 142 
Brandenburg, 127 
Burger, G. A., 147 

Cadmus, 185 
Caiaphas, 299-300 
California, 94 
Calvinists, the, 142 
Canaanitcs, the, 194 
Canon law, 105 
Carthaginians, the, 1 59 



Casuistry, 135-42 

Cato the Younger, 155 

Censorship, religious, 134 

Chaldaea, 185 

Charity, 95-96, 219-20 

Charlemagne, 131, 146 

Children, rights of, 96, 114-15 

China, Emperor of, 89 

Church, the: Christian, 280-301 ; and 
political freedom, 138; and the 
state, 87, 101-2, 105, 107-32 

Church councils, 83, 105, 118-19, 
120, 121 

Clergy, functions of the, 135 

Coleridge, S. T., 14, 31 

Confession, 104 

Confirmation, 106, 126 

Contract between prince and people, 
118 

Contradiction, 256, 260-61 

Corporation rights, 104, 105, 109-10 

Corruption of human nature; see Orig- 
inal sin 

Cosmopolitanism, 302-3 

Council of Ephesus, 120 

Courage, 234 

Crusades, the, 50-51, 146 

Cybele, priests of, 191 

Dark Ages, the 172 

Danaus, 185 

Dathan and Korah, revolt of, 198 

David, King, 146, 208 

Descartes, Rene, 56 

Deucalion and Pyrrha, 184-85 

Dialectical method, Hegel's, 9, 12, 

18-19, 32,40, 53, 313 n. 
Dilthey, Wilhelm, quoted, vii 
Disciples, the, 70, 77, 81, 82-83, 89, 

282-83 

Dissenters, rights of, 1 30-3 1 
Divorce, 216-17, 271 
Duties and rights, 95-97 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 



Education, 107, 110, 114-16, 321-30 
Ego: invincible might of the, 91; in 

Fichte's philosophy, 25-26, 33, 34, 

317-19 

Egypt, 186, 188-90 
Eleusinian mysteries, 193 
El-Shaddai ("God Almighty"), 200 
English, the, 168 
Enlightenment, the, 1, 3, 8, 14, 21, 

37-38, 67 
Ephron, 187 
Epicureanism, 91 
Eskimos, the, 196-97 
Essenes, the, 69, 179, 203-4 
Eucharist, the; see Lord's Supper 
Eudaemonism, 136, 162 
Eumenides, the, 229, 273 
Eupolemus, quoted, 1 84 
Euripides, 148 
Eusebius, quoted, 1 84 
Existentialism, 46 

Faith, 239-40, 266-68, 287 

Fanaticism, 288 n. 

Fasting, 219, 220-21 

Fate: conception of, discussed, 228- 
42, 281-301; meaning of, 182 

Fathers, the, 60, 72, 172 

Fear and love, 306-7 

Feuerbach, L. A., 54 

Fichte, J. G., 3, 8, 14, 15, 20, 23, 24, 
25-28, 29, 31, 33, 38, 41, 56, 57, 
311 n., 318 n., 319 n.; Critique of 
All Revelation, 2; Rechtslehre, 39; 
Vocation of Man, 167 n.; Wissen- 
schaftslehre, 14, 24, 31, 33, 34 

Finite and infinite, 176, 262 

Folk religion, idea of, 3-4, 40-41 

Forgiveness, 236, 239^0 

Frank, Erich, viii 

Frederick Barbarossa, Emperor, 146 

Freedom : effect of ecclesiasticism on, 
142; and the essence of morality, 
69, 79-80, 135; extinction of, 156- 
57; in Greece and Rome, 154-57; 
and the negative side of beauty, 
236, 284; political, and the church, 
138; and truth, 196 

Fries, J. F., 53 

Fulfilment: of the laws, 99, 138, 214, 
217,219; of love, 253 



Ganges River, 94 

Geist (mind or spirit), 1 5, 23-24, 3 3 

General will, the, 119 

Gerar, 186 

Ghosts, 147 

Goethe, J. W., 2, 20, 62, 65 

Gorgon's head, 188 

Grammar, educational value of, 328- 

30 
Greek institutions contrasted with 

Judaism, 197-98 

Greek literature in education, 32425 
Greek mythology, 148-49, 151, 184- 

85, 195 n. 
Greek religion, 3-4, 5, 7, 9, 16, 17, 

52, 143, 154, 155, 157, 184-85, 

302 
Grief for the death of relatives, 1 39 

Haering, T. L., vii, 206 n., 302 

Hamann, J. G., 14, 44 

Hardenberg, Friedrich von, 1 6, 20 

Harmodius and Aristogiton, 146 

Haym, Rudolf, 64 

Hegel, G. W. F. : development of 
thought of, 1-66; Difference be- 
tween the systems of Fichte and Schel- 
ling, 22-28, 32, 36, 31 In.; En- 
cyclopaedia, 41, 46, 60-62, 240 n.; 
Essay on Natural Law, 36, 39-42, 
54-55; Faith and Knowledge, 36- 
39; Fragment of a System, 13-14, 
17, 23; Inaugural Dissertation, 21, 
36; Jenenser Logik, 28-36; Jenenser 
Realphilosophie, 42; Life of Jesus, \, 
5-6; Phenomenology of Mind, vii, 
15, 21, 43-55, 63, 66, 235 n.; 
Philosophy of Religion, 183 n.; Phi- 
losophy of Right, 1, 41, 63-66, 109, 
136, 284n.; Positivity of the Chris- 
tian Religion, vi, 6-8, 9; and Schel- 
ling, 20-28; Science of Logic, 36, 
56-60, 62, 63 ; The Stiint of Chris- 
tianity, vi-vii, 8-12, 16, 33, 40, 58, 
66 

Hercules, 293 

Herder, J. G., 3, 8, 14, 21, 150 

Herod, King, 224 

Heroes, 145 

Historicism, 65 

History and religion, 292 



[336] 



INDEX 



Hobbes, Thomas, 48 

Holderlin, J. C. F., 2, 4, 8, 10, 1 1 

Holty, L. H. C., 147 

Hoffmeister, J., 321 n. 

Holy of Holies, 192, 193, 314 n. 

Human nature, concept of, 167-70, 

172 
Hypocrisy, 141, 219-20, 315-16 

lamblichus, 159 

Immortality, 71, 154-55, 157, 187, 

196, 297-98 

Index of prohibited books, 134 
India, 94, 149, 168 
Individuality, concept of, 310-11 
Infallibility, 130 
Infinite and finite, 176, 262 
Inquisition, the, 93 
Intellect and miracles, 296 
Intellectual intuition, 24 
Intellectualism, 264, 300 
Iroquois, the, 78 
Isaiah, 209 n. 

Israelites; see Jewish people 
Italian states, the, 168 

Jacob the Patriarch, 188, 189 
Jacobi, F. H., 8, 14,21,24, 31,53 
Jerusalem, 218, 298, 314 n. 
Jesus Christ: authority of, 76, 78, 85; 
divinity of, 242, 264-69; general 
aims of, 69-70, 73; Hegel's view 
of, 5-6, 9-10; Last Supper of, 89- 
90, 248-53; life and teaching of, 
177-81; moral teaching of, 70-71, 
75, 85, 98-99, 138, 205-44; nega- 
tive, attitude toward the state, 283- 
87 ; parables of, 99, 22 3 ; relation of, 
to Judaism, 70, 24CMH, 253, 265, 
268-69, 281-83, 285; religion of, 
174-75,206,253-301; Resurrection 
of, 291-95, 300; teaching of, non- 
sectarian, 80; valedictory commands 
of, 83-85, 273-77 
Jewish culture, 256 
Jewish imagery, 14950 
Jewish language, 255-56, 278 
Jewish laws; see Mosaic law 
Jewish people, 9-10, 68-69, 75-76, 
77, 79, 89, 98-99, 158-59, 177-79, 



1 80-8 1 ; relation of Jesus to, 70, 
240-41, 253, 265, 268-69, 281-83, 
285; see also Jews; Judaism 

Jewish prophets, 203, 298-300 

Jewish religion, 139-40, 253 

Jews: conversion of, 94-95; treat- 
ment of, 131 

John the Baptist, 69, 179, 223-24, 
258, 268, 274, 275 

Joseph the Patriarch, 188-89 

Joseph II, Emperor, 125 

Josephus, quoted, 184, 204 n. 

Joshua, 185 

Judaism, spirit of, 6, 9-10, 68-69, 
177-79, 182-205 

Judas Iscariot, 276 

Judgments, moral, 222-23, 237-38, 
262-63 

Julian the Apostate, 113, 149 

Julius Caesar, 146 

Kant, Immanuel, 3, 32, 34, 37, 38, 57, 
143; Critique of Judgment, 2; 
Critique of Pure Reason, 5, 29-30, 
161 n., 187-88 n.; ethics of, v, 2, 
4, 7, 8, 9, 10-11, 40, 41, 64, 210- 
15, 220 n., 244, 247 n., 253 n.; in- 
fluence of, on Hegel, vii, 47; 
Philosophy of Law, 39; Religion 
within the Limits of Reason Alone, 
4, 211 n., 262 

Keate, G., 279 n. 

Kepler, Johannes, 2 

Kierkegaard, S. A., 46, 141 n. 

Kingdom of God, 277-78, 282-83, 
284-85, 287, 290 

Klopstock, F. G., 80, 148 n., 149 

Knowledge of men, 240 

Kroner, Richard, v, vii, viii, 5 n. 

Kuhn, Helmut, viii 

Language of reflection, 255-56 

Lares, the, 188 

Lasson, G., 5n., 28 

Latin, study of, 322-23 

Law, penal, 225-29, 238 

Laws: fulfilment of the, 99, 138, 214, 

217, 219; nature of, 209-10 
Leibniz, G. W., 21, 162n. 
Lessing, G. E., 8, 21, 72, 92, 107, 

116, 150 n., 175, 256 n. 



[337] 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 



Life, conception and philosophy of, 
11, 13, 15, 17, 31, 52-53, 56,212- 
13, 221, 223, 225, 229, 230-33, 
236, 238, 239, 247, 254-55, 262, 
287-88, 309-20 

Logic, Hegel's conception of, 28-34 
iXogos, the, 256-59 

Longinus, 159 

Lord's Supper, 17, 18, 32, 89, 131, 
248-52 

Love, 9-12, 16, 17, 187,213,215-17, 
221-22, 225, 232, 240-41, 244, 
246-47, 250-51, 253, 271, 278-81, 
287, 289, 290-91, 294-95, 302-8; 
fulfilment of, 253 
HLucian, 159 

Luther, Martin, 121, 146, 315 

Lutheran church. 141-42 
^Lycurgus, 197 

Macbeth, 229 

Mackenzie, Millicent, 321 n. 

Malabar, 94 

Manichaeans, 160 
"Marivaux, P. C. de C, 139 

Marriage, 109 

Marseilles, 190 

Martyrdom, 162 

Marx, Karl, 50 

Mary Magdalene, 242-44 

Mendelssohn, Moses, 8, 21, 95 n., 
195-96 

Mesopotamia, 185 

Messianic hopes, 71, 77, 158-59, 203 

Middle Ages, 145 

Military service, 16465, 195 

Mind: absolute, 35-36, 41, 42, 57; 
philosophy of, 22, 33, 35, 43, 62 

Miracles, 71, 78-79, 149, 153, 154, 
165-67, 267, 295-300 

Mississippi River, 94 

Mohammedans, 94 
'Montesquieu, Baron de, quoted, 156 

Morality, 205-47; ecclesiastical con- 
ception of, 135-42, 144; essence of, 
69, 79-80; Jewish, 76; no advance 
in, 144; and reason, 143-45; and 
religion, 7, 68, 86, 140; route to, 
79; and sectarianism, 91-92 

Mosaic law, 191-99, 206-9 

Moses, 15O-51, 189-200, 202, 217 



Mosheim, J. L., quoted, 120, 142 
Musaus, J. C. A., 147 

Natural religion, 167-77 

Nature, philosophy of, 13, 16, 21, 22, 

35,42-43, 61, 62, 309-11 
New Testament, 1 50 
"Newton, Sir Isaac, 329 
Nimrod, 183-84 
Noah, 182-84, 302 n. 
Nohl, Herman, 5n. 
Novalis; see Hardenberg, Fried- 
rich von 

Oaths, swearing of, 217-18 
Objectivity, doctrine of God's, 163, 

186, 191, 203, 255 
Oedipus, 148, 233 n. 
Old Testament, 150-51 
Opinion, difference in, intolerable, 

92-93 

Opposites, unity of, 304-5, 309-13 
Origen, 36 

Original sin, 137, 160 
Ossian, 149 
"Ought" and "is," 213-15 

Paraguay, 94 

Patron saints, 149 

Perfection, Christian ideal of, 101 

Pericles, 148 

Pestalozzi, J. H., 14 

Peter, St., 81 n., 242, 267, 272, 283 

Pfleiderer, Otto, 72 n. 

Pharaoh, 189-90 

Pharisees, the, 178, 203, 204 n., 208, 

283 

Phidias, 148 

Philanthropy, 246-47, 280 
Philosophy and religion, 3 1 3 
Piderit, J. R. A., quoted, 126 
Pietists, the, 142 
Piety, concept of, 1 64 
Plato, 32, 57, 155, 270 
Political interest and free institutions, 

82 

Pompey, 192, 314 n. 
Pope, the, 121 
Porphyry, 159 
Positive religion, 167-77 
Positivity, conception of, 1 67 



[338] 



INDEX 



Practical reason, 72, 152, 176 
Prayer, 219, 220-21 
Priests, 88, 193 
Proofs of God*s existence, 93 
Property, 88, 221-22, 235 n., 287, 308 
Prophecy, fulfilment of, 298-300 
Prophets, Jewish, 203, 298-99 
"Proselytes of the gate" (proselyti 

portae), 117 
Proselytism, 94-95 
Protestant: highest duty of a, 130; 

meaning of, 128 
Protestant churches, 8, 93, 105, 106, 

107-8, 110, 113, 117, 121-23, 124- 

26, 129, 130-32, 301 
Protestantism, 37-38 
Punishment, 218, 225-42 
Puritans, the, 211 



Raca ("fool," "scoundrel," "silly 
fellow"), 216 

Reason: activity of, 330; and love, 
304; and miracles, 166-67; and 
morality, 143-45; and religion, 
171-77, 313 (see also intellectual- 
ism); rights of, 143 

Reconcilability, 215-16 

Reflection: concepts of, 310-12; lan- 
guage of, 255-56 

Religion: end and aim of, 68, 86, 98, 
140; and history, 292; and intellect, 
292-93; nature of, 253, 311-13, 
3 1 5-1 7 ; and philosophy, 313; posi- 
tive and natural, 167-77; urge to- 
ward, 173, 176, 289, 290, 292 

Religious practice, 206-7, 248-52 

Resurrection, the, 291-95, 300 

Retribution, 218 

Revolutions, study of, 152 

Right: man's most sacrosanct, 124; 
to religious freedom, 123, 127, 132; 
of self-responsibility, 145 

Rights, 206-7, 216, 219, 222; and 
duties, 95-97; upheld by death in 
their defense, 165 

Robinson Crusoe, 328 

Roman Catholic church, 8, 88, 93, 
105, 107-8, 113, 117, 118, 122, 
124-26, 130-32, 141, 149, 301; re- 
ligion of, 155, 157; sacrificial 
feasts in, 90; and taxation, 283 



Romanticism, 14-27, 43, 53 

Rome: expansion of, 154-55; fall of 

and Christianity, 168 
Romeo and Juliet, 307 
Roques, P., quoted, vi 
Rosenkranz, J. K. F., vi, 22 n., 38 n. 
Rosenzweig, F., 86 



Sabbath, the, 193-94, 204, 208, 261 

Sadducees, the, 178, 203, 204 n. 

Sagas, interpretation of, 150-51 n. 

Saguntines, the, 159 

Samoyeds, the, 95 

Samuel the Prophet, 202 

Sarah, wife of Abraham, 187 

Saxony, 127, 131 

Schelling, F. W. J., 2, 3, 4, 8, 14, 16- 
17, 29, 31, 37, 39, 56, 57, 311 n.; 
and Hegel, 20-28, 34, 42 

Schiller, J. C. F., 2, 11, 15, 20, 62 
134, 140 

Schlegel, A. W., 20 

Schlegel, Friedrich, 16, 20 

Schleiermacher, F. D. E., 8, 1 5 

Sect, conception of a, 74-75, 86-87, 
100 

Self-righteousness, 220 

Sermon on the Mount, the, 99, 212-23 

Shakespeare, William, 148; quoted, 
307 

Shame, 306-7 

Shechemites, 188 

Simon the Pharisee, 243 

Sin, concept of, 1 64 

Sinai, Mount, 193 

Socrates, 81-82 

Solomon, King, 146, 202 

Solon, 197 

Son of God, 260-63 

Son of man, 260-63 

Sophocles, 148, 155 

Spaniards, the, 93, 131, 168 

Sparta, 197 

Spinoza, Baruch, 2, 3, 26, 56 

State, the: aim of, 97; and the church, 
101-2, 105, 107-32, 301; and mor- 
ality, 97-98; relation of Jesus and 
his followers to, 283-88; and re- 
ligious freedom, 127, 132 

Stirling, J. /Hutchison, 24, 312 n. 

Stoics, the, 160.^ 

[339] * 



EARLY THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS 



Storr, G. C, 72 n. 
Strauss, D. F., 54 
Submission, 233-34 
Sulzer, J. G. f 8 
Superstition, 170-78, 217 
Symbolical Books, the, 80, 106, 117, 
122-23, 126, 128 

Temple of Jerusalem, 192-93, 208; 

worship in, 313-16 
Terah, 185 n. 
Terence, quoted, 157 
Theseus, 146 
Tieck, Ludwig, 20 
Toleration, 110, 112 
Translations, inadequacy of, 326-27 
Trinity, doctrine of the, 18, 160-61, 

260 



Truth, nature of, 196 
Tungus, the, 211 
Turks, the, 95 

Valhalla, 146 

Venus, 252 

Virtue, 215, 221-22, 224-25, 244-47 

Voguls, the, 211 

Wackenroder, W. H., 16 
Wacker, Herbert, 5 n. 
\tor, methods of waging, 260 
Weldon, T. D., quoted, 214n. 
Wesen (essence), 59 
Will to believe, 123 
Winckelmann, J. J., 21, 62 
Windelband, Wilhelm, 43 
Witchcraft, 147 
Wolf, Christian von, 162 n. 



120953